Delaware Flu is on the Rise - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Flu is on the Rise

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DELAWARE - In Delaware, hospitals have been very busy so far this winter. That's because the flu season is off to a quick start in the first state, in particular in Sussex County.

The Division of Public Health tells WBOC that there have been 250 confirmed cases of the flu, so far this winter. Of that total number, 159 - the equivalent of about 64 percent of the cases - have been located in Sussex County.

"A lot more people are coming in with a cough," said Dr. John Dillon of Beebe Healthcare. "A cold. Maybe a high heart rate not knowing what's going on. So we're definitely testing for it, and unfortunately we're seeing it."

In Sussex County, those 159 cases have translated into two flu deaths so far this year. No other county in Delaware has seen any deaths caused by the flu.

"Most of the cases we're seeing are in people who are between five and 24-years old," he said. "But the population that's most at risk are those that are very young. Like zero to four. And those that are very old which are mostly people who have been hospitalized."

At Cape Pharmacy in Lewes, pharmacist Rina Kelley said there is a misconception about how these illnesses spread.

"People think we get colds from the cold," she said. "But actually it's that when it's colder, we're inside more often. Not out. And we're with other people inside. So we're passing it from one another."

Last winter in Delaware, there were more than 1,800 flu cases. The highest recorded year in the last decade was the 2009-2010 winter, when there were more than 2,200 cases in the first state.

Widespread flu activity isn't just being reported in Delaware. It's been reported in 14 other states as well. In Maryland, 669 cases of the flu have been reported so far this season. Meanwhile in Virginia, the number of flu cases is increasing, but the level remains at "local." That designation means that the flu is in a single region of the state.

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