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DHSS Press Release



Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Emily Knearl, DPH Communications Director
302-255-9047, Cell 302-382-6267

Date: March 30, 2016
DHSS-3-2016





DELAWARE PUBLIC HEALTH ANNOUNCES TWO NEW FLU-RELATED DEATHS FOR 2015-2016 SEASON


DOVER, DE (March 30, 2016) - Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) reported two more flu-related deaths for the 2015-2016 flu season, bringing the total to three. The two new fatalities were New Castle County residents, a 58 year-old female (Influenza A H1N1 - Swine) and 69 year-old male (Influenza A -no subtype), both with underlying health conditions.

There are a total of 1,138 lab-confirmed cases for the current flu season in Delaware. The 2015-2016 flu year continues its pattern of a late peak, meaning a significant increase in cases and the three fatalities coming late in the traditional flu season. During flu week 11, there were 306 new laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza among Delaware residents - 215 (70.3 percent) in New Castle County, 59 (19.3 percent) in Kent County and 32 (10.5 percent) in Sussex County.

Still, this flu season remains much less deadly than last year's season in which there were a total of 2,390 confirmed flu cases in Delaware, with 28 flu-related deaths.

"DPH is keeping in our thoughts and prayers the families and loved ones who lost someone to flu last week," said Delaware DPH Deputy Director Crystal Webb. "The flu season is clearly not over, and taking precautions is still important."

Public Health officials encourage anyone, 6 months of age and older, who has not yet been vaccinated against the flu to do so as soon as possible. DPH continues to offer the vaccine at four of the State Service Centers. Information for these sites can be found at dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/fluclinics.html . Additionally, the vaccine is available through medical providers, pharmacies, and some grocery stores.

Flu vaccination reduces the risk of getting sick from the flu or spreading the disease to others. Delawareans are encouraged to prevent infection by taking simple everyday measures such as washing hands, using hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes and staying at home when sick. These efforts help stop the spread of respiratory illnesses including flu.

The previous fatality was also a New Castle County resident - an elderly man with underlying health conditions (influenza A).

For more information on influenza prevention, diagnosis and treatment, call the Division of Public Health at 888-282-8672 or visit flu.delaware.gov.

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, and 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.





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