Baystate sees 10 percent increase in flu cases - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM


Baystate sees 10 percent increase in flu cases

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

The number of flu patients admitted to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield continues to rise. 

The percentage of children and adults admitted is up significantly from last week.

Doctors at Baystate told Western Mass News the number of patients with the flu is up 10 percent over last week.  It's a reflection of what's happening nationally.   

Today, the CDC said that the number of flu patients has now reached levels not seen since the 2009 swine flu outbreak. 

At Baystate, the number of flu patients admitted daily has reached on average 10 per day.  

"In terms of the number of positive testing results we've seen here at Baystate at least over the past week in itself a 10 percent increase over the prior week, which had been a 10 percent increase prior to that, so we're still seeing extremely high numbers of flu cases," said Dr. Michael Klatte with Baystate Children's Hospital.

Numbers at Baystate are being reflected throughout Massachusetts.  

The state's Department of Public Health released numbers today indicating that statewide, western and eastern Massachusetts as the hardest hit.

"The season at least has started earlier and it seems to be lasting longer in terms of peak intensity," Klatte explained.

Confirmed flu cases are separated from the general population quickly, thanks to a rapid flu test that Klatte told Western Mass News is not only fast, but is about 98 percent correct.

"Which for the hospitalized patients is beneficial in terms of knowing who needs to be put in private rooms, what type of isolation precautions, whether we need to wear masks, gowns, and gloves," Klatte said.

The virus causing most hospitalizations is H3N2 and while the current vaccine is only 32 percent effective against H3N2, the CDC and Klatte said that getting that shot is still worth it.

"Still has the potential, even if it doesn't completely ward off the flu, to decrease the severity and intensity of the flu if you do get it," Klatte noted.

During this flu epidemic, Baystate is asking the public to please pay attention to their temporary policy.

The signs posted everywhere indicate restricting visitors to two per patient, no one under the age of 12, and please stay away entirely if you're not feeling well.  

The CDC also said that the current vaccine has a good track record battling other flu strains out there, such as the B-strains and H1N1.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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