Delaware’s first flu death strikes 47-year-old man

The victim from New Castle County was a resident of a long term care facility and had multiple underlying health conditions.

The 47-year-old man is the first to die in Delaware during the 2017-2018 flu season. He was infected with influenza A and was already vulnerable due to other health conditions.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the gentleman’s family during this difficult time,” said Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “His death is a reminder of how serious the flu can be, especially among vulnerable populations.”

As of December 2, there have been 46 lab confirmed cases of flu in Delaware, with 15 people requiring care in the hospital. That’s almost exactly the same number as this time last year.

There is some concern that this year’s flu season could be wider spread than usual. They say Australia suffered an especially harsh flu season and historically, that country has been a good measuring stick for how the flu season would turn out in the U.S.

But officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are taking a wait and see approach, saying it’s too early in the U.S. flu season to determine how severe the virus will be.

Rattay said that uncertainty is why residents should get the flu vaccine. “Getting your annual flu vaccine is still your first and best line of defense against the influenza virus,” Rattay said. DPH is offering the vaccine at five state service centers. You can find those locations on the state’s flu website.

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