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Big Apple laid low by flu epidemic

21 January 2013 09:15

Times Square: New York is being gripped by a flu epidemic

Times Square: New York is being gripped by a flu epidemic

A public health emergency has been declared in the Big Apple as New York is laid low with a flu epidemic.

A total of 20,000 people have been struck down already in the worst outbreak for several years, while an immunisation schedule has been widened to reduce its spread. Officials have even taken the step of authorising pharmacists to vaccinate children under 18.

This is not normally allowed, but New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has waived the rules to raise the number of people being safeguarded.

The number of cases is well over four times the number reported in the previous flu season and such an unexpected outbreak in such a popular tourism destination underlines the value of taking out medical travel insurance to give you peace of mind when going on holiday.

Mr Cuomo said it was the worst flu season since 2009, with cases widespread across all five boroughs in the city, and added: "I have directed my administration, the State Health Department and others to marshall all needed resources to address this public health emergency."