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Delaware Health Alert Network #62

December 23, 2003 11:05 am

Health Advisory

There have been no deaths from influenza reported in Delaware. However, during the 2003-04 influenza season, severe complications from influenza and influenza-associated deaths among children have been reported by several states.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requests that health care providers report all deaths associated with laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infection among children younger than 18 years of age to their state health department. In Delaware, reports should be made to the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) by calling Dr. Leroy Hathcock, State Epidemiologist at 1-800-295-5156.

A death is considered to be influenza-associated if a diagnosis of influenza has been made based on laboratory testing of clinical or autopsy specimens, by one or more of the following:

  1. Viral culture
  2. Direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) staining
  3. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)
  4. Rapid influenza diagnostic test
  5. Enzyme immunoassay (EIA)
  6. Immunohistochemical staining of autopsy tissue

In addition, cases of influenza-associated encephalopathy in persons younger than 18 years of age should also be reported to DPH.

DPH will relay these reports (excluding all identifying information) to CDC for the purpose of national monitoring of severe illness associated with influenza.

Categories of Health Alert messages:

  • Health Alert: Conveys the highest level of importance; warrants immediate action or attention.
  • Health Advisory: Provides important information for a specific incident or situation; may not require immediate action.
  • Health Update: Provides updated information regarding an incident or situation; unlikely to require immediate action.
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