DOVER, Del.- Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) reports the state's first laboratory-confirmed case of influenza for the 2014-2015 flu season. The case involves a 2-year-old resident of Sussex County who was not hospitalized, DPH officials said. There are two main types of influenza (flu) virus -- types A and B -- that routinely spread in people and are responsible for seasonal flu outbreaks each year. Delaware's first case is an influenza A strain, according to DPH.
DPH urges all Delawareans 6 months of age and older who have not yet been vaccinated against the flu to get a vaccination as soon as possible. DPH's "Get It" campaign especially encourages healthy 19-49-year-olds - who often skip the flu shot - to get vaccinated. The vaccine is readily available through medical providers, pharmacies, and some grocery stores. DPH will conduct public flu clinics including some with evening hours at various locations in the state. For DPH flu clinic schedules this season, please visit http://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/fluclinics.html.
Flu vaccination reduces the risk of getting infected or spreading the disease to others. It is especially important that the following groups get flu shots:
- Pregnant women and their household contacts;
- Caregivers and household contacts of children younger than 6 months, since those children are too young to receive the vaccine;
- Those with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems;
- Health care providers.
Delawareans are also encouraged to prevent infection by taking simple everyday measures such as washing hands, using hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes and staying at home when sick. These efforts help stop the spread of respiratory illnesses including flu.
Beginning in October each year, DPH monitors the occurrence of influenza-like illness in hospitals, selected long-term care facilities and medical clinics to track flu trends in the state. Reports so far do not suggest that influenza is widely circulating in Delaware.
During the 2013-2014 flu season, there were 1,842 confirmed cases of influenza in Delaware, with six flu-related deaths. There were 428 hospitalizations due to the flu or flu-associated causes like pneumonia.
For more information on influenza prevention, diagnosis and treatment call the Division of Public Health at 888-295-5156 or 302-744-4990, or visit dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/index.html?