(NECN: Julie Loncich, Boston) - We're learning just how severe this year's flu outbreak is.
Thousands have become sick in Massachusetts, and the state has confirmed 18 deaths.
It is quite serious. This is shaping up to be the busiest flu outbreak since the H1N1 pandemic in 2009 and 2010. Boston officials have declared a public state of emergency because of the flu.
State health officials at the department of public health briefed one another on the outbreak Wednesday morning.
State health department confirms there have been 18 deaths in the state of Massachusetts so far this season, and there have been 6,000 lab confirmed cases of the flu, so far this season, as well.
This is an important distinction because lab confirmed cases are certainly a smaller number than the number of actual cases because nine times out of 10 you might not actually go to the doctor.
The 6,000 number includes all strains. The most prevalent strain this season is strain A. it is the worst strain in terms of effects and length of illness.
Doctors urge you to still go out there and get the flu shot. You might ask why. You can still get the flu, yes, but it will likely be a lesser strain of the flu if you get the shot. By all means, doctors are urging you don’t go to work if you think you might be sick.
In response to Mayor's declaration of a health emergency due to the flu outbreak, Dorchester House will hold a free flu shot clinic on Saturday, January 12, from 9 a.m. to noon. The Dorchester House is located at 1353 Dorchester Avenue in Dorchester, Mass.