One day after Boston’s mayor declared a public health emergency because hundreds have been sickened by the flu in that city, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray said Thursday there is no evidence of a flu epidemic in the District.
Speaking to reporters in the John A. Wilson Building, Gray said the D.C. Department of Health is closely tracking flu cases but has yet to see a sharp up tick in cases.
“We don’t know of an epidemic in the city at this stage,” Gray said. “There have been no suggestions we need any changes around how we are addressing it at this point.”
According to the Boston Globe, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino declared the emergency because that city currently has 700 confirmed flu cases and four flu-related deaths, compared to only 70 last winter.
The epidemic is straining Boston hospitals, the newspaper reported.
On Thursday, the Associated Press reported the Pennsylvania Department of Health is also battling a “widespread” flu outbreak, including 4,300 cases in the last week. At least one Pennsylvania hospital has set up a tent on its grounds to help treat large numbers of patients seeking treatment
But as of Dec. 29, the District, Hawaii and Guam were the only jurisdictions in the nation not facing “regional” or “widespread” flu outbreaks, according to the Center for Disease Control.
The District has reported 310 flu cases so far this season, compared to 97 last season.
And Gray warned that flu conditions in the District could quickly escalate, so the city is urging residents to get the flu shot. Several pharmacies, however, have run out of the vaccine.
“We want to make sure everyone who wants and needs one has the opportunity to get one,” Gray said. “We want to make sure supplies are replenished as quickly as they can be.”