First Reported Influenza Cases in Delaware - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

First Reported Influenza Cases in Delaware

Posted: 10/26/2017 11:45:00 -04:00 Updated:

DOVER, Del. - The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) has found the state's first laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza for the 2017-2018 flu season.

According to the DPH, six individuals have been diagnosed with the flu in October. Three of them were hospitalized due to the illness. They include a 66-year-old male, an 81-year-old female from New Castle County and a 73-year-old Kent County female.

The DPH says there are two main types of influenza virus - types A and B - that routinely spread in people and are responsible for seasonal flu outbreaks each year. All six cases of the lab-confirmed influenza cases are type A.

“For the past several weeks, we have been encouraging people to get vaccinated as a preventive measure against getting the flu. Now that we have lab-confirmation of our first cases, we hope this further motivates individuals who have not yet gotten their annual flu shot to do so,” said Dr. Awele Maduka-Ezeh. “Getting a flu shot is quick, easy, and not only protects you, but also those around you.”

DPH urges all Delawareans 6 months of age and older to get vaccinated soon if they have not yet done so. The flu is easy to transmit and you can get it even from seemingly healthy, but unvaccinated, children and adults. Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against influenza virus infection, it is important to get the flu shot as early as possible to give your body time to build immunity. The intranasal vaccine (flu mist) is not being recommended this year based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s analysis, which showed the intramuscular vaccine was better at protecting against certain strains of influenza.

Vaccinations not only prevent people from getting the flu, but they can reduce the severity of flu illness and prevent visits to the doctor, clinic, emergency room, hospitalizations, and serious consequences (including death) from influenza. Vaccinated people have less chance of missing family, school and work events due to influenza illness.

Delawareans can prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory illness with good hygiene. Washing hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and dispose of tissues immediately. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your inner elbow.  Droplets from a sneeze can travel up to six feet. Also avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Flu symptoms come on suddenly, and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches and body aches, chills, and fatigue. Some people get complications including pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections.

 

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