Three from Kent County among first flu cases of season

Delaware State News

DOVER — Three Kent County residents are among Delaware’s first laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza for the 2017-18 flu season, according to the Delaware Division of Public Health.

A total of six individuals have been diagnosed with the flu to date in October. Three of them were hospitalized due to the illness.

They include a 73-year-old Kent County woman and a 66-year-old man and an 81-year-old woman from New Castle County. Each of the people who were hospitalized had underlying health conditions.

Among those diagnosed but not hospitalized are a 48-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman from Kent County and a 42-year-old New Castle County man.

There are two main types of influenza (flu) virus – types A and B – that routinely spread in people and are responsible for seasonal flu outbreaks each year. All six cases of the lab-confirmed influenza cases are type A.

“For the past several weeks, we have been encouraging people to get vaccinated as a preventive measure against getting the flu,” said Dr. Awele Maduka-Ezeh. “Now that we have lab-confirmation of our first cases, we hope this further motivates individuals who have not yet gotten their annual flu shot to do so.

“Getting a flu shot is quick, easy, and not only protects you, but also those around you.”

DPH urges all Delawareans 6 months of age and older to get vaccinated soon if they have not yet done so. The flu is easy to transmit and people can get it even from seemingly healthy, but unvaccinated, children and adults.

Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against influenza virus infection, it is important to get the flu shot as early as possible to give your body time to build immunity.

The intranasal vaccine (flu mist) is not being recommended this year based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s analysis, which showed the intramuscular vaccine was better at protecting against certain strains of influenza.

Vaccinations not only prevent people from getting the flu, but they can reduce the severity of flu illness and prevent visits to the doctor, clinic, emergency room, hospitalizations, and serious consequences (including death) from influenza. Vaccinated people have less chance of missing family, school and work events due to influenza illness.

Flu vaccinations are offered through physician offices, many pharmacies and some grocery stores. DPH is also offering flu vaccines at its Public Health clinics in several State Service Centers including some with evening hours.

For more information about the flu and where to get vaccinated, visit www.flu.delaware.gov, call 1-800-282-8672, or Google “CDC flu finder” and enter a ZIP code.

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

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.