Flu cases soar in RI and Mass, people crowd emergency rooms - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Flu cases soar in RI and Mass, people crowd emergency rooms

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Dee DeQuattro

ddequattro@abc6.com

The number of flu cases is at a record high in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

At Rhode Island Hospital alone there are 13 times more diagnosed cases of influenza since this same week last year.

For the week of Jan. 1 – Jan. 8 Rhode Island Hospital had 66 cases of diagnosed influenza and 3 flu like cases, a stark comparison to the Jan. 1 to Jan 8 period in 2012 when there were only 5 diagnosed flu cases and 2 flu like cases seen at Rhode Island Hospital.

For the month of Dec. 2012 there were 229 flu patients seen at Rhode Island Hospital and 94 with flu-like symptoms compared to Dec. 2011 where there were only 22 flu cases and 5 flu like cases.

At Kent County Hospital the hospital reports only having seen 20 cases of influenza last season compared to the 300 the hospital has seen between Oct. 2012 to Dec. 2012.

Kent Hospital reports seeing between eight and twelve news cases of influenza a day. On any given day between 10 and 15 people are actually in the hospital to be treated for the flu. Those who are in-patients in the hospital tend to be elderly with underlying conditions.

In Boston, Mass., Mayor Thomas Menino has declared a city health emergency. So far Boston has had 700 confirmed cases of the flu this season compared to 70 from last season.

There have already been 18 flu deaths in Massachusetts this season, four times higher than last year's death toll.

Typically the flu does not peak until mid-winter somewhere around the end of January and the beginning of February.

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