Delaware’s first confirmed case of influenza for the 2014-2015 flu season involved a Sussex County 2-year-old; the toddler was not hospitalized.
There are two main types of the flu virus — types A and B — that routinely spread among people and are responsible for seasonal flu outbreaks each year, Delaware’s Division of Public Health said. Delaware’s first case was an influenza A strain.
DPH urged all Delawareans 6 months of age and older, in particular healthy 19-49-year-olds who often skip the flu shot, to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The state agency also encouraged pregnant women, caregivers of children younger than 6 months old, seniors, those with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems and health care providers to get immunized.
The vaccine is readily available through medical providers, pharmacies, and some grocery stores. DPH also offers public flu clinics including some with evening hours at various locations in the state.
Simple handwashing measures, the use of hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes and staying at home when sick, DPH said helps stop the spread of respiratory illnesses, including the flu.
DPH monitors the occurrence of influenza-like illnesses in hopitals, long-term care facilities and medical clinics beginning in October each year. Reports so far do not suggest the flu is widely circulating in the state.
During the 2013-2014 flu season, there were 1,842 confirmed cases of influenza in Delaware, with six flu-related deaths. There were 428 hospitalizations due to the flu or flu-associated causes like pneumonia.