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Baltimore health officials declare influenza alert

With the number of positive influenza tests rising sharply in the city, Baltimore health officials declared a flu alert yesterday. "We're really seeing sustained transmission of flu in Baltimore. Now is the time to protect yourself," said the city's health commissioner, Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein. Sentinel hospitals reported that 12 percent of flu tests last week came back positive, more than twice the rate for the previous week. There have been no deaths, but the Johns Hopkins Children's Center is treating a teenager who is critically ill with flu. "This is not just the sniffles. It can be very serious," Sharfstein said. Residents are urged to get flu shots, to wash their hands frequently, cough into a tissue or sleeve and stay home if they're sick. For more: www.baltimorehealth.org/flu

Frank D. Roylance


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