BOSTON — It may seem a little early to be talking about the flu, but the Department of Public Health is already seeing positive flu test results.

On October 4th, DPH began Massachusetts' flu surveillance monitoring and reporting for the 2019-2020 flu season. Since the start of September, there have been 82 lab-confirmed flu cases that have been reported in Massachusetts.

While this number is normal for this time of year, DPH is reminding Massachusetts residents to get vaccinated now to protect themselves, their families, and prevent the spread of the flu.

" We don't know how severe this year's flu season will be, but we do know that the flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself, your family, and everyone around you," said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH.

" Although the flu vaccine won't prevent every case of the flu, it's still the most effective way to reduce your risk of serious illness," added Bharel.

Flu vaccinations reduce the risk of flu-associated death by half among children with underlying high-risk medical conditions and by nearly two-thirds among healthy children.

Nationwide, there were 136 pediatric deaths from the flu last year.

"In Massachusetts, 81 percent of children ages 6 months through 17 years had a flu vaccination last year, making our flu vaccination rates among the highest in the nation," said Dr. Larry Madoff, Medical Director of the DPH Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences.

"But we need people of all ages to be vaccinated to help protect friends and family members from getting the flu," added Madoff.