Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Date: January 16, 2015
Dover, DE (January 16, 2015) - A new flu fatality in Kent County brings the total to 15 statewide for this flu season, over twice the number of fatalities for any full flu season in recent years. Delaware also has 1616 lab-confirmed cases to date. All fatalities but one were individuals over age 65 with underlying conditions. With the high number of fatalities and illnesses, the Division of Public Health urges medical providers to consider treating any senior or vulnerable individual with flu-like symptom with anti-viral medication. Anti-virals are most effective when administered within 48 hours of the start of symptoms.
In addition to seniors, others who are most vulnerable are the very young, pregnant women and those who recently gave birth, and people with underlying medical conditions, such as lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, and individuals with weak immune systems. If anyone in this group begins to show symptoms of the flu, contact your medical provider immediately to discuss symptoms and use of anti-viral medication.
New Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates show vaccine effectiveness may be particularly low for the elderly in one of the most common flu strains this year. As a result, DPH is emphasizing that using a full range of disease prevention precautions is important. To protect the elderly and vulnerable populations, DPH recommends:
Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Each year a few strains of the flu will circulate. So far this season, 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. >
Eleven of the deaths this flu season were in New Castle County, and two each in Kent and Sussex Counties. Ten of the individuals lived at home and five in long-term care settings. In previous years, the total flu deaths for the season were:
For further information on the flu and DPH flu clinics, 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.