Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Date: November 30, 2011
Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) reports the state's first laboratory confirmed case of influenza for the 2011-2012 flu season. On Nov. 29 the Delaware Public Health Laboratory confirmed influenza type A/H3 in an 11-year-old boy from Wilmington. The child is recovering at home. Influenza A/H3 currently accounts for 30 percent of the flu cases that have occurred nationwide this season.
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.
"Flu seasons can be unpredictable and immunization is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from infection," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director. "This year's influenza vaccine provides protection against this A strain of flu. Because it is not yet widespread, there is still time to be vaccinated."
DPH urges all Delawareans 6 months of age and older who have not yet been vaccinated against the flu to get a vaccine as soon as possible. The vaccine is readily available through medical providers, pharmacies and some grocery stores. DPH will conduct public flu clinics with evening hours Dec. 1 at Rosehill Community Center at 19 Lambson Lane in New Castle, and at Greenwood Fire Hall in Sussex County. For more information, go to www.flu.delaware.gov It is also important that health care providers get vaccinated.
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:
Delawareans are also encouraged to prevent infection by taking simple everyday measures such as washing hands, using hand sanitizers, covering coughs and sneezes and staying at home when sick. These efforts help stop the spread of respiratory illnesses including flu.
For more information on influenza prevention, diagnosis and treatment call the Division of Public Health at 1-888-295-5156 or 302-744-1033, or visit dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/index.html
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.