January 10, 2013 - Risk Alert - Flu Outbreak, Public Health Emergency*

Office of Risk Management and Parish Services - Risk Alert No. 2013-01 - RE: Flu Outbreak, Public Health Emergency - January 10, 2013

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has declared a public health emergency in Boston due to an increasingly severe flu season. Mayor Menino indicated that this is the worst flu season since 2009 when the H1N1 pandemic affected thousands in the Boston area. To date, there have been 700 confirmed cases of flu among Boston residents, a ten-fold increase when compared to the 2011 - 2012 flu season. 

To avoid illness, everyone over the age of six months is urged to get a flu vaccine. The strains of flu virus in circulation this year were anticipated and 91% of the viruses found in testing this year are well-matched to the vaccine, according to Kevin Cranston of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Healthcare centers in Boston will be offering free immunizations. To find a clinic, please go to:

  • Preventive Measures: The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season. If you haven’t received a vaccine yet, it is not too late. Please get immunized, especially if you are in the at-risk group (children younger than five, pregnant women, adults 65 or older, and people with medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease).
  • Good health habits, such as covering your cough and washing your hands often, can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu. If you are sick, stay home from work or school. Avoid close contact with people who are sick and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • For more information, please see What You Should Know About the 2012-2013 Influenza Season: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2012-2013.htm
  • In addition, please see resources on our website, including a pandemic planning newsletter from 2008 and fact sheets from the CDC and other sources: