Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Date: March 26, 2015
DOVER (March 26, 2015) - With a total of 2,309 lab-confirmed flu cases to date, Delaware's flu year now has surpassed the number of lab-confirmed cases for the 2009-2010 H1N1 outbreak (then referred to as the "swine flu"). The total number of lab-confirmed cases for that year was 2,247. This flu year already had seen record-breaking fatality numbers with total of 28 dead. That is four times the most recent high of seven fatalities during the 2009-2010 H1N1 year.
"Flu is a highly unpredictable disease and very easy to take for granted since it is constantly with us," said Delaware Public Health Division Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. "No one could have predicted this year would be so deadly or include so many cases. Flu's annual presence and unpredictability is what makes precautions and prevention efforts every year so important."
Added Cabinet Secretary Rita Landgraf, Department of Health and Social Services, "As the flu year seems to be winding down, it is still important for people to remember prevention. Wash your hands constantly, stay home when ill, and contact your medical provider if you begin to show symptoms, particularly if you are elderly or have underlying health conditions."
DPH is still advising that persons with emerging flu symptoms should call - not visit - their medical providers, who may be able to prescribe anti-viral medication. Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue.
DPH recommends these actions to protect seniors and vulnerable populations, including 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:
All but four of those who died from flu this year were over age 65 (the other fatalities were in their 50s) and all 28 had underlying medical conditions. Twenty-two of the deaths were in New Castle County, three in Kent and three in Sussex. 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 fact sheet on protecting the elderly and vulnerable populations is available at www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/files/fluprotectingelderlyandvulnerable.pdf
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.