First case of flu reported in Kent County for this season

DOVER — On Friday the Delaware Division of Public Health reported the state’s first Kent County laboratory-confirmed case of influenza for the 2015-2016 flu season.

Officials said the case involves a 33-year-old Kent County woman who is recovering at home.

There are two main types of influenza virus — types A and B — that routinely spread in people and are responsible for seasonal flu outbreaks each year. Kent County’s first case is an influenza B strain.

In a news release, DPH urged all Delawareans 6 months of age and older who have not yet been vaccinated against the flu to get a vaccination as soon as possible. The flu is easy to transmit and you can get it from healthy — but unvaccinated — children and adults.

DPH’s “Get It” campaign especially encourages healthy 19 to 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.

On Thursday, DPH conducted its second flu clinic/preparedness exercise at the Greenwood Fire Department. The public flu clinic also provided DPH staff the opportunity to practice their readiness in the event of a large-scale health emergency and test the ability to accommodate people with disabilities. DPH is conducting public flu clinics, including some with evening hours, at various locations in the state.

Upcoming statewide flu clinics in Kent and Sussex counties include:

• Oct. 30 — Spence’s Bazaar, 550 S. New St., Dover, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Oct. 31 — AME Church Women’s Missionary Society, 100 W. Mispillion St., Harrington, noon to 2 p.m.

• Oct. 31— U.S. 13 Outlet Market, 11290 Trussum Pond, Road, Laurel, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Oct. 31 — Seaford High School, 399 N. Market St., extended, Seaford, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

A complete listing of DPH flu clinic schedules this season is at dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/fluclinics.html.

DPH said flu vaccination reduces the risk of getting sick from the flu or spreading the disease to others, and is crucial to the following groups:

• 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;

• Senior citizens;

• Those with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems;

• Health care providers.

DPH recommends taking simple measures such as washing hands, using hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes and staying at home when sick. These efforts reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses including flu.

Flu symptoms come on suddenly, and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches and body aches and fatigue. Some people get complications including pneumonia, bronchitis and sinus and ear infections.

Providers can prescribe antiviral medicines to make illness milder, hasten recovery and prevent serious complications, hospitalizations and even death.

Beginning each October, 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. During the 2014-2015 flu season, there were 28 flu-related deaths and 2,390 confirmed cases of influenza in Delaware, a significant increase in activity from the prior flu season.

The first Delaware flu case this season occurred in a New Castle County man who had strain A.

For more information on influenza prevention, diagnosis and treatment, call the Division of Public Health at (888) 282-8672 or visit flu.delaware.gov.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 711 or (800) 232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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