A pregnant woman and an elderly man are Delaware’s second and third victims of the 2013-14 flu season.
State health officials say the 33-year-old woman went to the doctor for her symptoms on February 11. Tests showed she had contracted influenza H1N1. They say she was not vaccinated and had several underlying conditions that made her more susceptible to the flu.
When her condition worsened, she sought emergency care on February 16 while suffering severe respiratory stress. She was in her second trimester when her child was delivered by emergency C-section on February 17. The baby remains hospitalized. The mother died on February 22.
A 77-year-old Wilmington man died from complications related to the flu just one day before that on February 21. He also had several underlying medical conditions.
“These are tragedies,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health. “Our thoughts and prayers go to the mother’s child and all of the loved ones of our two deceased community members.”
Delaware’s first flu death in 2014 was a 50-year-old woman from Sussex County who died on January 6.
Flu widespread in Delaware
Delaware’s flu status is considered widespread as of the week ending on February 15. There have been a total of 957 cases in the current flu season in Delaware, with 32 flu-related hospitalizations for the week ending on February 15.
In calendar year 2013, there were 1,773 confirmed cases of the flu in the state, with four flu-related deaths.
This year’s strain of the flu has targeted younger age groups than in recent years. There also has been an increase in severity of the flu for those who have not been vaccinated, according to a study of cases at Duke University Hospital in North Carolina.
In that study of the first 55 patients treated from November through early January, only two of the 22 patients who required intensive care had been vaccinated. Rattay says that’s another good reason Delawareans should get their yearly flu vaccine.