Officials have just confirmed the first death of a Massachusetts child from flu-related complications: a 6-year-old girl in Haverhill. They are continuing to track what’s clearly the worst flu season in years.

Health officials always say that every flu season is bad, and it is. Many thousands of adults and dozens of children die nationwide every year. But now, we’re starting to see indications that this is the most intense season in recent recorded history.

UMass food scientists Lynne McLandsborough, left, and Lili He.
Karen Brown / NEPR

Food scientists at UMass Amherst have come up with a technique they say could make it a lot easier to avoid food poisoning.

Federal regulators say they want more information about the proposed merger between health insurer Aetna and pharmacy chain CVS. Antitrust experts at the Department of Justice have issued what’s known as a second request for information about the $69 billion deal. 

To age well, we must eat well. There has been a lot of evidence that heart-healthy diets help protect the brain.

The latest good news: A study recently published in Neurology finds that healthy seniors who had daily helpings of leafy green vegetables — such as spinach, kale and collard greens — had a slower rate of cognitive decline, compared to those who tended to eat little or no greens.

The current flu season is still getting worse, federal health officials said Friday. And it continues to take a toll on children.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an additional 16 flu deaths among children, bringing the nationwide total this season for youngsters to 53.

Mass. Sen. Adam Hinds of Pittsfield reviews paperwork on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, as state senators interview Mass. GIC officials.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

The Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission decided Thursday to scrap its much-maligned move to cull the number of health insurance carriers available to public employees.

Kerry Taylor and her husband are self-employed farmers from Salem. She said her family has to consider health insurance costs when balancing the annual business budget.

Updated at 11:17 a.m. ET

Health care costs are "a hungry tapeworm on the American economy," Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett says, and now his firm is teaming up with Amazon and JPMorgan Chase to create a new company with the goal of providing high-quality health care for their U.S. employees at a lower cost.

A fisherman holds up a lobster covered in eggs.
Courtesy / Gul of Maine Research Institute

Retail stores in Massachusetts are expected to start selling marijuana legally in the state this summer. Some cities and towns have taken steps to temporarily block pot shops within their borders. And others have banned them altogether. 

The Department of Public Health is offering a first-of-its kind free flu clinic this weekend, in response to an aggressive flu season making its way across the U.S. and the world.