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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: February 7, 2014


DOVER (February 7, 2014) - Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) reports the first flu-related death of the 2013-2014 flu season with no known underlying causes. The individual was a 50-year-old woman from central Sussex County who died on January 6, 2014. Infection with influenza A was later confirmed by the Delaware Public Health Laboratory as part of the state's routine surveillance efforts.

Flu status for both Delaware and the nation is considered widespread for the first week of February. DPH reports a total of 655 cases for the current flu season in Delaware. Of these, 636 (97%) were influenza type A cases. In calendar year 2013, there were 1,748 confirmed flu cases in Delaware with four flu-related deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not track adult influenza deaths.

"We are so sorry to hear this sad news," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family. This is an important reminder how serious the flu can be, particularly among vulnerable populations like the very young, people with multiple underlying conditions, and seniors."

Delawareans are also encouraged to prevent infection by taking the following measures:

Residents who are not yet vaccinated are encouraged to obtain their vaccine. Anyone age six months and older should get vaccinated for the flu. It is particularly important that anyone who works or lives with the young, persons with underlying medical conditions, or seniors, get vaccinated. Vaccinations are offered through physician offices, and many pharmacies and grocery stores. DPH is also expanding vaccination opportunities at public health clinics. If you need information on the flu or where to get vaccinated visit or call 800-282-8672.

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.