January 28, 2016 2:58 pm

Puerto Rico health officials declare flu epidemic

A health worker stands in the Sambadrome as he sprays insecticide to combat the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that transmit the Zika virus, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jan. 26, 2016.

AP Photo/Leo Correa

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico has declared a flu epidemic.

Health officials are urging people to vaccinate themselves and say they have requested money from the Puerto Rico government to buy more flu vaccine.

The Health Department says nearly 3,800 cases have been reported and nearly 400 people have been hospitalized since the season began last July.

MORE: NS flu cases down from last year, but watch out, the number is rising across the country

Health Secretary Ana Rius said Thursday that 1,349 cases were reported this week, compared with 781 cases last week. Five people died last year.

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© 2016 The Canadian Press

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