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Posted by John Jacob, a health communications writer and editor at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Welcome back to the weekly flu report posting from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. This week marks the beginning of what's considered the 2012-2013 flu season. In this space every Friday from now until May 2013, you'll find the latest data on flu rates in Massachusetts — how many cases of flu we're seeing, which geographic areas are impacted, and how the current flu season compares to the previous few years. 

Flu is unpredictable, and we never know from year to year just how mild or severe the flu season will turn out to be. The weekly flu report is a useful tool that helps health care providers, public health professionals and the general public to get a snapshot on where we stand on flu at the present time.

As you'll see, this inaugural weekly flu report (WordPDF)  shows that flu activity is still quite low. That will change as we get further into the season — here in New England, we don't see the peak of flu season until February.

As we gear up for this flu season, the single most important way that people can stay healthy all season long is to get a flu vaccine. As we head into mid-October there's plenty of flu vaccine available so call your health care provider to schedule an appointment or search for a public flu clinic online at http://www.mylocalclinic.com.  

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health communication writer and editor

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