The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is reporting the state's first laboratory confirmed cases of influenza. The cases are three and five year-old sisters from Kent County. The five year-old child was hospitalized; the three year-old was evaluated in the emergency department and released to home. Both cases were Type B influenza and were confirmed by the DPH laboratory by both PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and culture.
In addition to laboratory testing, DPH conducts surveillance for influenza by monitoring the occurrence of influenza like illness (ILI) in all hospitals and selected long term care facilities, large corporations and stand alone medical clinics. Reports are provided to DPH weekly. (ILI is fever equal to or greater than 100 degrees F, oral or equivalent, and cough and/or sore throat, in the absence of a known cause). ILI activity has not increased so far this year. Nor have reports of respiratory symptoms among patients seen in Delaware's emergency rooms, also reported to DPH weekly.
During week 44 (October 28 – November 3, 2007), a low level of influenza activity was reported in the United States. Fifty (2.5%) specimens tested by U.S. World Health Organization (WHO) and National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS) collaborating laboratories were positive for influenza. The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza was below the epidemic threshold. The proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) and acute respiratory illness was below national baseline levels. National information can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm
A DPH clinic schedule can be found here: http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/fluclinics.html. People in any of the following groups can be vaccinated at DPH clinics (6 months to 18 years require appointment).
A comprehensive schedule can be found at this website: http://www.flucliniclocator.org/
DPH strongly encourages other providers (for example, school wellness centers, long term care facilities, physicians, etc.) to submit influenza specimens to the DPH Laboratory for culture confirmation and subtyping (throat/NP/nasal wash) to assist with surveillance. Culture and subtype testing by the DPH Laboratory is done free of charge and results are sent back to the requesting physician or hospital as soon as test results are available. To submit a specimen for culture, contact the DPH laboratory (302-223-1520) to request influenza virus isolation kits and obtain information about specimen transport to the laboratory.