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New York declares flu emergency amid case spike

New York declared a flu emergency as the number of influenza cases spiked 55 percent in the past week.

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A boy is vaccinated during a day of the vaccination campaign against Influenza. (Jesus Alcazar/AFP/Getty Images)

New York declared a flu emergency Saturday amid a spiking caseload as hospitals nationwide grappled with an influx of sick patients.

The declaration by Gov. Andrew Cuomo allows pharmacists to give flu shots to children 6 months and older, NBC New York reported.

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Two children have died from the flu in New York state, and confirmed cases of influenza are up 55 percent in just the past week.

Boston declared a flu emergency earlier this week, a move soon followed by Massachusetts.

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Flu deaths nationwide have reached an epidemic level, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there's signs that new cases have peaked.

New outpatient flu cases dropped this week from 6 percent to 4 percent, particularly in the south, where this year's season began, The New York Times reported.

The early, particularly brutal flu outbreak has renewed a call by some health experts for a more efffective flu vaccine, USA Today reported.

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This year's shot is about 62 percent effective, a study found.

Despite that, the vaccine supply is running low, with 128 million doses already distributed — almost 95 percent of the 135 million doses produced by manufacturers, according to the Washington Post.

Google is tracking the global flu fluctuations with its' "Flu Trends" feature, which tracks where users enter "flu" or related search terms and spits out estimations about that area's spread of disease.

Right now, the map indicates "high" or "intense" flu activity throughout all of the US and Canada. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/130112/new-york-declares-flu-emergency-amid-case-spike