Delaware’s Division of Public Health announced the state’s second flu-related death, one day after holding its final free flu vaccination clinic for the 2016-2017 season.
A 98-year-old New Castle County woman, who had underlying health conditions, passed away last week. She had been diagnosed with influenza A, health officials stated in a news release.
DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay said while flu activity typically ramps up in January and February, it has spiked in the past two weeks. Activity and the percentage of flu-related hospitalizations is also much higher when compared to this time last year. Many of the hospitalizations, she said, are elderly persons.
“Flu season is in full swing,” Rattay said, “but it’s still not too late to get vaccinated for this year as we continue to see flu cases into May. The vaccine takes two weeks to take effect so it is important that if you have not yet received your flu vaccine, you do so at your earliest convenience.”
To date, Delaware has 285 confirmed flu cases for the 2016-2017 season, with 77 requiring hospitalization. Of the 285 confirmed cases, 138 have been in New Castle County, 93 in Kent County, and 54 in Sussex County.
It is recommended that everyone over 6 months old, including the elderly and pregnant women, should receive a flu shot every year to protect against the virus.
Yesterday’s free flu shot clinic at Legislative Hall in Dover was the last one for this flu season, but vaccines are also available at many pharmacies and grocery stores, as well as through primary care physicians and some specialists.