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Uphams Corner Health Center marshals against flu outbreak

Posted by Roy Greene  January 9, 2013 07:38 PM

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By Patrick D. Rosso, Town Correspondent

As Boston battled a rapidly growing flu outbreak, it is places like the Uphams Corner Health Center in Dorchester that are laboring on the front lines.

Today, the waiting room was full. Staffers treated people both at the facility and provided medical advice over the phone.

Requests for vaccinations surged as the city said it had 700 confirmed cases of flu so far and four flu-related deaths. Last year, Boston had only 70 confirmed cases.

Janette Bataringaya, director of the clinical services at the Uphams Corner center, said the facility had been able to handle the influx, even though some staffers are out sick. Patients are asked to wear masks to prevent the spread of germs.

"It's been a lot busier than any other season, and we're trying to keep people from waiting," said Bataringaya, who has worked at the Columbia Road center since 1994. "We're trying to get them in and out. All that lingering round the clinic causes further interaction."

She said the center stresses that "everyone in the home needs to get vaccinated; it's never too late."

For now, the facility has enough supplies to deal with the surge, "but it's always a concern as the sickness grows."

E-mail Patrick D. Rosso, patrick.d.rosso@gmail.com. Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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