News / USA

Boston Reels Under Flu Outbreak

Boston Reels Under Flu Outbreaki
X
January 12, 2013
With flu cases spiking in the U.S. city of Boston, the mayor has taken an unusual step. He has declared a public health emergency and is urging people to get vaccinated. While not everyone believes there is a crisis, the declaration is making many Bostonians take action. VOA's Steve Baragona has more.
TEXT SIZE - +
— With flu cases spiking in the U.S. city of Boston, the mayor has taken an unusual step. He has declared a public health emergency and is urging people to get vaccinated. While not everyone believes there is a crisis, the declaration is making many Bostonians take action.

Hand washing is a big deal at the Tufts Medical Center emergency room. Nurse Sandy Gibbons said they've seen a surge of flu patients in the last couple weeks .

“And it came on very fast. That's what we've noticed. It went from being a trickle to inundated within a matter of two to three days,” said Gibbons.

Hospitals are inundated across Boston. Influenza cases are up more than 10-fold from last year's mild season. And that's a challenge for hospitals that already are nearly full,  said Dr. David Hooper at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“The surge in influenza patients since early December has really added a lot more pressure on managing beds and making sure everyone gets the care they need,” he said.

But while 47 of the 50 U.S. states are reporting widespread flu activity, the response from Boston Mayor Thomas Menino is so far unique.

“Today [January 9] I am declaring a public health emergency in the city of Boston,” said Menino.

The city is offering free flu shots at clinics across the city and urging everyone to get vaccinated.

The emergency declaration is a welcome but unexpected move, said Hooper.  

“Some would call it an emergency, some would call it a challenging year that we've got to step to the next level on,” he said.

City officials say the point is to raise the urgency level for people to get vaccinated. Early figures show that only about 35 percent had received flu shots as of November.

The mayor's announcement got Leona Hampton's attention.

“I got really nervous. My doctors had talked to me previously about getting the flu shot, but I was a little leery, like, 'Oh, I never get the flu.' But I need to change my thinking,” she said.

Changing people's thinking is not easy. Dental student McKenna Cox is recovering from the flu. She did not get vaccinated, and she does not plan to next year, because, like many people, she said it's not that big a deal.

“I think it's kind of crazy, the whole manic panic about the whole thing. I mean, this is New England in the winter. People get sick,” she said.

But as they struggle to find empty beds in Boston's emergency rooms, doctors disagree.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid