• Flu declining, but still above average in Mass.


    BOSTON (AP) - State public health officials say reported cases of the flu have dropped in Massachusetts for a second consecutive week, yet remain higher than at this time in recent years.

    Officials lowered the level classification of the flu outbreak Friday from "high" to "moderate" as they believe flu numbers have declined.

    New state figures released on Friday show the percentage of people visiting health care providers with flu-like symptoms dropped to 2.4 percent after reaching nearly 4.5 percent earlier in the month.

    A small decline in flu-related hospitalizations was also reported on Friday.

    Health officials say while the decline is encouraging, they point out that the flu can be unpredictable and that it too soon to say whether flu season in Massachusetts has peaked.

    Officials say it also not too late to get a flu vaccine.

    A widespread outbreak of flu in Boston prompted the city to declare a public health emergency last week.

    Boston health officials say there have been 1,030 cases of the flu in the city. They say 5-percent of E.R. visits in Boston are flu-related. They add that E.R. visits are down from the start of the season.

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