Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Carl Kanefsky, Communications Director
(302) 540-4979, Pager
Date: September 24, 2010
Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) will launch the annual flu season with a special awards ceremony Sept. 29 at 10 a.m. at the Smyrna Health and Wellness Center to honor community health professionals for their role in reporting influenza trends. Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director, will recognize 17 community health partners for assisting DPH with flu-related activities. Sixteen health partners help DPH track the incidence of influenza as part of the Influenza Sentinel Physicians Surveillance Network. Sentinel providers voluntarily report both the total number of patient visits and the number of visits for influenza-like illness from October to May.
"Sentinel providers play an extremely valuable role by providing essential information on when influenza is present, the location of illness, the sub-types of flu in the community and the age groups affected," said Dr. Rattay. "This helps DPH know if the vaccine administered will prevent the strain that is present, and whether anti-viral medication will treat it."
The New Castle Farmer's Market near the Wilmington Airport will receive an award for volunteering their premises for a 2009 flu clinic that provided more than 2,400 free seasonal and H1N1 influenza vaccines. Greg Beecher will accept the market's award.
All Delawareans age 6 months and older should receive a flu shot. Flu vaccines protect against the influenza virus, which kills about 36,000 in the U.S. each year. Last year, 77 Delawareans were hospitalized with flu complications; seven died. This year's flu vaccine offers protection against the seasonal flu virus as well as the 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) virus. The vaccine comes in two forms: a shot and a mist.
The Smyrna Health and Wellness Center is located at 100 S. Main St. in Smyrna. The awards ceremony will take place in the second floor conference room. DPH will honor the following sentinel providers:
For flu information, go to www.flu.delaware.gov
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.