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Flu Now At Historic High in Mass.

Swine flu is now so widespread in Massachusetts that flu activity is the highest it's ever been in recorded state history.

Seven percent of all health care visits in Massachusetts are now due to the flu. That number would normally be one percent this time of year. But the H1N1 virus is so rampant that it's almost twice the swine flu rate Massachusetts saw last spring, and above the peak of a typical winter flu season.

"That means that we really do have to protect ourselves — wash hands, stay home when we're sick, keep our kids home when they're sick, and get the vaccine when it's available," said Dr. Lauren Smith, medical director at the state Department of Public Health.

Smith said all existing flu cases in the state are believed to be H1N1 because seasonal flu usually doesn't arrive until December. In addition, all samples of the virus that have been tested by the state so far this fall have been the swine flu variety, according to Smith.

This program aired on November 19, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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