Delaware woman becomes state’s second flu death of the season

A woman gets an injection in her upper arm

Vaccinated people get the flu at a rate that’s 30 percent lower than people who don’t get the shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control. (Emma Lee/WHYY, file)

An 83-year-old New Castle County woman died last week from flu-related symptoms. She had several underlying health conditions that put her at a higher risk of flu complications. The unidentified woman was a resident of a long-term care facility and died at a local hospital.

Earlier this month a 47-year-old man died from flu complications. He also had several health conditions and was living at a long-term care facility.

Influenza activity is on the rise in Delaware, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of Dec. 22, the state has recorded 129 lab-confirmed cases of the flu, with 49 of those patients requiring hospitalization. That’s ahead of the total at this time last year, when Delaware had 91 lab-confirmed cases and 26 hospitalizations.

The Division of Public Health is encouraging medical providers to start antiviral treatment for all patients who have been hospitalized with the flu and for all high-risk patients with suspected flu. The antiviral drugs are only available with a prescription.

The state is still offering flu vaccine at five state service centers. With cases on the rise, DPH recommends anyone who has not been vaccinated yet this season to get their vaccine as soon as possible because it takes two weeks for the vaccine to take effect.

Find a list of state sites offering the vaccine at dhss.delaware.gov.

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