Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) has reported the state's first laboratory confirmed cases of influenza for the 2012-2013 flu season. DPH received reports of cases of influenza type B that were confirmed by commercial laboratories. The three cases were female: a 15-year-old from Smyrna; a 27-year-old from Seaford; and a 4-year-old from Bear who was identified Oct. 16. None were hospitalized.
There are two main types of influenza (flu) virus - types A and B. The influenza A and B viruses that routinely spread in people (human influenza viruses) are responsible for seasonal flu outbreaks each year.
Beginning in October each year, DPH monitors the occurrence of influenza-like illness in hospitals, selected long-term care facilities and medical clinics to track flu trends in the state. Reports so far do not suggest that influenza is widely circulating in Delaware.
DPH urges all Delawareans 6 months of age and older who have not yet been vaccinated against the flu to get a vaccine as soon as possible. DPH's "Get It" campaign especially encourages healthy 19-49 year olds, who often skip the flu shot, to get vaccinated. The vaccine is readily available through medical providers, pharmacies and some grocery stores. DPH will conduct public flu clinics with evening hours. For DPH flu clinic schedules for this season, please visit www.flu.delaware.gov.
Flu vaccination reduces the risk of getting infected or spreading the disease to others. It is especially important that the following groups get flu shots:
- Pregnant women and their household contacts
- Caregivers and household contacts of children younger than 6 months, since those children are too young to receive the vaccine
- Those with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems
- Healthcare providers
Delawareans are also encouraged to prevent infection by taking simple everyday measures such as washing hands, using hand sanitizers, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying at home when sick. These efforts help stop the spread of respiratory illnesses including flu.
For more information on influenza prevention, diagnosis and treatment call the Division of Public Health at (888) 295-5156 or 744-1033, or visit dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/index.html