Major flu outbreak continues in western Massachusetts

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Western Massachusetts has seen hundreds more confirmed cases of the flu this past week.

Thirty-seven children across the country have died from the flu so far this season, and according to the CDC, we may not yet have reached the peak for this powerful strain of the flu.

According to the state Department of Public Health, the number of flu cases in western Massachusetts so far this year outnumbers the cases from last flu season almost 3-to-1.

Flu season takes deadly toll

The state provides free flu vaccines to children under the age of 18. Fairview Pediatrics in Chicopee ran out of their state-provided flu shots for the year Friday, more than 1100 units.

The flu puts the elderly and kids particularly at risk.

“I think that’s when it’s the most dangerous, is after they’ve had the flu for a long time, they can develop other problems like pneumonia,” Dr. James Bell from Fairview Pediatrics said.

InFocus: Surviving the winter cold and flu season

Fairview Pediatrics said they have already ordered more vaccines, and encourage people to still get the flu shot this season.

Holyoke resident Tamador Gibreel, who already had the flu this season, said now she’s getting vaccinated.

“I will now, because I could get it again,” Gibreel told 22News. “It was terrible. I was laying down for almost three weeks, I couldn’t go to work or do anything.”

More than 1,200 cases of the flu have been reported in western Massachusetts so far this year.

Flu season can last into the spring, so people should still consider getting vaccinated.

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