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Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Date: January 9, 2014
DOVER (Jan. 9, 2014) - Flu season started slowly this winter, but reports in Delaware and nationwide show that cases are increasing and impacting younger age groups. Vaccination is still the best prevention method and it's not too late to benefit from a flu shot. Delaware logged 107 confirmed cases of influenza as of Dec. 28, 2013 with no flu deaths. Only five of those flu cases were among people age 65 and over.
Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) will provide free flu shots Jan. 22 from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. in Legislative Hall Library, 411 Legislative Ave, Dover, DE. No appointment is necessary; photo identification is required. See additional vaccination availability below.
"A significant rise in cases is not unusual for this time of year," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director. "We want to encourage anyone who has not yet received a flu shot to get one as soon as possible. Flu is very unpredictable and the best protection is the vaccine."
The shift in risk groups this season is due to the prevalence of the H1N1 strain of influenza, which has historically had a greater impact on young and middle-aged adults. The CDC estimated H1N1 hospitalizations from April 2009- April 2010 at 160,000 for people ages 18-64, compared to 27,000 for people 65 and older. Nationally, the spectrum of illness observed thus far in the 2013-14 season has ranged from mild to severe and is consistent with that of other influenza seasons. While it is not possible to predict which influenza viruses will predominate during the entire 2013-14 influenza season, the H1N1 strain has been the predominant circulating flu virus so far. Delaware's flu strains as of Dec. 28, 2013 are as follows:
|Influenza A: 2009 H1N1||69 percent|
|Influenza A: H3N2||3 percent|
|Influenza A: unsub:typed||22 percent|
|Influenza B:||6 percent|
These percentages are a contrast to the September 30, 2012 to May 18, 2013 flu season, in which H3N2 was the predominant strain at 37 percent.
DPH recommends annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older. Anyone who has not yet been vaccinated this season should get an influenza vaccine now. All available vaccine formulations this season contain an H1N1 component; CDC does not recommend one flu vaccine formulation over another. Vaccines are widely available at physician offices, many pharmacies, and supermarkets.
Vaccinations are also available from DPH by appointment as follows:
If you need additional information on the flu or where to get vaccinated visit www.flu.delaware.gov 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.