FLU IS NOW CONFIRMED STATEWIDE; DPH ANNOUNCES FIRST FLU CASES IN KENT AND SUSSEX COUNTIES FOR THE 2019-2020 SEASON

DOVER (Oct. 14, 2019) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is reporting the state’s first laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza in Kent and Sussex counties, for the 2019-2020 flu season. The Kent County case involves a 26-year-old female, while the Sussex County case involves a 7-year-old male. This brings the total number of flu cases this season to three. The first confirmed flu case for New Castle County was announced last week. There are two main types of influenza (flu) virus – types A and B – that routinely spread in people and are responsible for seasonal flu outbreaks each year. All three lab-confirmed influenza cases were type B.

 

“With flu cases confirmed in all three counties, we are urging Delawareans not to delay getting their flu vaccine,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “Vaccination is not just about protecting yourself, it’s also about protecting your children who are quite vulnerable to effects of the flu, other family members and those with whom you work.” Vaccinations not only prevent people from getting the flu, but they can reduce the severity of flu illness and prevent visits to the doctor, clinic, emergency room and hospitalizations. Vaccinated people also have less chance of missing family, school and work events due to influenza illness.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced last week concerning national numbers that show only about half (54%) of pregnant women surveyed report getting a flu vaccine either before or during pregnancy.  When pregnant women are vaccinated they pass on antibodies to the fetus that provide protection after birth, during the time babies are too young to be vaccinated. Newborns who get influenza or whooping cough are at high risk of hospitalization and death. Additionally, pregnant women have more than double the risk of hospitalization compared to non-pregnant women of childbearing age if they get influenza. The CDC and DPH recommend that expectant mothers be up-to-date with recommended vaccinations as part of their routine prenatal care.

 

The flu vaccine is recommended for Delawareans 6 months of age and older. Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against influenza virus infection to develop in the body, it is important to get vaccinated as early as possible to give your body time to build immunity. DPH will offer various flu clinics throughout the season. A schedule can be found at https://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/fluclinics.html. Flu vaccines also are offered through physician offices, many pharmacies and some grocery stores. To locate where flu vaccines near you are being offered, Google “CDC flu finder” and enter a ZIP code.

 

Getting the flu vaccine now also will provide protection during the entire flu season. During the 2018-2019 flu season, Delaware recorded 6,387 laboratory-confirmed flu cases. More than 1,000 Delawareans were hospitalized due to the flu and 24 people died from flu complications.

 

The flu is easy to transmit and you can get it even from seemingly healthy, but unvaccinated, children and adults. Children, older adults, pregnant women and those who have chronic underlying medical conditions are most at-risk for complications from the flu and are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated now.

 

In addition to getting an annual flu vaccine, Delawareans can prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory illness with good hygiene: Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and dispose of tissues immediately. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your inner elbow. Droplets from a sneeze can travel up to six feet. Also avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Keep your distance from people who are coughing or sneezing.

 

Flu symptoms come on suddenly, and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches and body aches, chills and fatigue. Some people get complications including pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections. Those sick with the flu should stay home from work, school and other gatherings and not return until they have been free of fever – with a temperature of less than 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C), without the use of fever-reducing medications – for at least 24 hours.

 

People with flu symptoms should avoid close contact with well people in the household and stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other clear liquids. Over-the-counter medicines can provide symptom relief, but if you suspect you have influenza, call your doctor as they may decide to provide antiviral medications to help hasten recovery and prevent serious complications. This is particularly important for those who feel very sick, are pregnant or have chronic medical conditions.

 

For more information about the flu and where to get vaccinated, visit flu.delaware.gov or call 1-800-282-8672.

 

Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Secretary

Jill Fredel, Director of Communications

302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498

Email:  jill.fredel@delaware.gov

 

DPH Media Contact:
Jennifer Brestel
302-744-4907, Cell 302-612-6223
Email: 
Jennifer.brestel@delaware.gov

Images from the 89th Annual Meeting of the Academy/DPHA

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Trauma Informed Delaware

In October, 2018, Governor Carney signed Executive Order 24, making Delaware a trauma-informed state.  This order directs the Family Services Cabinet Council to develop tools for training state employees and community partners on the impact of exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), to promote ACE awareness, and to improve services and  interventions for children and families exposed to trauma. The Family Services Cabinet Council is leading efforts to ensure that Delaware becomes a trauma-informed state
by promoting a Trauma Awareness Month in Delaware.

Since that time, First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney has brought together a variety of partners to launch Trauma Informed Delaware (TID), a statewide public-private-nonprofit coalition. The goal is to coordinate a sustainable, community-based trauma awareness, prevention, and early intervention system that advances resilience through:
• Access to quality behavioral and integrated health care
• Strength-based services for youth and adults
• Education for providers and the community

 

U.S. Surgeon General releases new video “The Doctor Is In”

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, M.D., M.P.H., released a new video, “The Doctor Is In,” on the topic of  vaccinations. As the Nation’s doctor, VADM Adams wants to share the message that vaccines are safe and effective ways to protect your children, your family, your neighbors, and yourself.

This is particularly timely, given that CDC announced yesterday that from January 1 to May 3, 2019, 764 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 23 states. This is an increase of 60 cases from the previous week. This is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1994 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000.

In the video, Dr. Adams responds to frequently asked questions about vaccination.

Surgeon General VADM Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH Statement on National Infant Immunization Week, Safety and Effectiveness of Vaccines

Vaccinations save lives, protect our children, and are one of the greatest public health achievements in history. Most parents choose to protect their children with these safe, proven vaccines. Despite this, we are now seeing a large, very concerning outbreak of measles. Vaccinating your baby according to the recommended immunization …