New Castle County man first flu death of Delaware's 2017-2018 season

Source CDC

Source CDC

During last year's flu season, 4,590 cases of flu were reported, about half of which were from New Castle County.

For additional information about influenza, including how it is monitored in New York State, visit the Department of Health web page.

It's time for NY health care workers who have not received flu shots to don face masks when working with patients.

Officials say over the last three seasons, there have been 19 pediatric influenza deaths in NY and an average of 11,183 influenza-related hospitalizations each season.

DPH recommends anyone, 6 months of age and older, who has not yet been vaccinated against the flu, to do so as soon as possible asit takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protects against influenza virus infection. For the same time frame last flu season, there were 42 lab-confirmed cases statewide and also 15 hospitalizations. Flu activity traditionally begins to increase in October and can last as late as May.

Officials from both agencies are urging residents to get their annual flu shot.

He predicts the peak of flu season will hit sometime between late December and early March 2018. The study, published Wednesday in the Lancet, says between 291,000 and 646,000 people likely succumb to these respiratory diseases each year-potentially far more than prior estimates hovering between 250,000 and 500,000 casualties. Among the reported cases, there have been 612 hospitalizations. The vaccine is especially important for people at high risk for complications from influenza, which includes children under age 2, pregnant women and adults over age 65. The CDC recommends the flu shot for infants who are 6 months and older.

People with preexisting conditions such as asthma and heart disease are also at greater risk as are individuals with weakened immune systems due to disease or medications such as chemotherapy or chronic steroid use, public health officials said.

"Vaccination is the best way to protect against influenza, and is especially important for healthcare workers", said Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. High flu activity has continued in 3 states - Louisiana, Mississippi, and SC - and laboratory testing of respiratory specimens shows that influenza A (H3N2) has continued to be predominant this flu season.

Amendments to the regulations allow for the removal of masks when health care workers are accompanying patients in the community, providing speech therapy services, or communicating with persons who lip read.

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