Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Date: January 12, 2015
Dover (January 12,2015) - Dr. Karyl Rattay, Delaware Public Health Division Director, provided the below statement on flu today:
Thank you for joining me today as I provide an update on the current flu season. We have an unusually high number of lab-confirmed cases and deaths. To date, Delaware has 1340 lab-confirmed cases and 11 deaths; both numbers are significantly higher than previous recent years. Those being particularly hard hit are youth; almost half of the lab-confirmed cases are young (infants to those age 24) and the elderly (all but one of the fatalities are persons over the age of 70). The other fatality was 53 years old. All of the fatalities had underlying medical conditions.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who have lost someone due to influenza.
Influenza is often unpredictable and this is shaping up to be a very hard year for the disease. This season so far, DPH has reported influenza A (H3N2) viruses most frequently compared to other strains. Past experience indicates that when this particular strain is more common, there have been more hospitalizations and deaths, especially among those at highest risk of complications from flu infection. Most vulnerable are older people, the very young, pregnant women, those who recently gave birth, and people with underlying medical conditions, such as lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, and individuals with weak immune systems.
DPH has been messaging on the flu regularly since the start of the season but our recommendations continue to evolve based upon the Delaware experience and CDC recommendations.
Public Health has five recommendations:
Finally, we want to emphasize today the importance of anti-virals, the two most commonly used are Tamiflu and Relenza. Anti-virals are especially recommended for those with influenza who are at high risk for complications.
According to national CDC data, individuals especially in need of anti-virals are any patient with suspected or confirmed influenza who:
We want to emphasize to the community and medical providers that people fitting the above high risk categories be treated with anti-virals as quickly as possible-ideally within 48 hours of symptoms appearing.
Anti-virals may also be considered in other cases as determined by the physician. This is clearly a flu year where aggressive treatment is advised.
For further information on the flu, visit flu.delaware.gov or call 800-282-8672.
A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person's spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit delawarerelay.com
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. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, drink almost no sugary beverages.
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.