DOVER, Del. - Delaware health officials say a fourth person has died as a result of the surge in flu activity within the state. Recent single-week totals for lab-confirmed cases has reached over 600.
The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) says on Tuesday, 650 lab-confirmed flu cases were recorded between January 21 and January 27. Officials report that the week's totals surpass the highest single-week totals from last flu season. Health officials say the the highest single-week total in the 2016-2017 flu season was 571.
The most recent weekly number brings the total number of flu cases to 1,950 for the 2017-2018 flu season.
In addition to the surge in flu cases, DPH says a 82-year-old Sussex County man is the fourth person to die from flu-related complications, in Delaware. Officials report that the 82-year-old had several underlying health conditions and passed away last week at a local hospital. According to officials, two Sussex County residents and two New Castle County residents are among the four individuals who died from the flu this season, in Delaware.
In reference to the flu related deaths and activity, DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay says, "Our hearts go out to the family and friends of those who have passed away from flu-related complications. As long as flu viruses are still circulating, it is not too late to get a flu vaccine. It is difficult to tell when flu season will peak, but all signs indicate we are likely to continue to see elevated levels of flu activity for weeks to come."
Flu activity is the highest seen in the last five flu seasons.
Health officials report that infants and children have been heavily affected by the recent surge in the sate's flu cases. The overall number of school-age children affected by the flu season has risen to 400.
DPH encourages individuals who develop influenza-like-illness symptoms to contact your primary care provider (PCP) for treatment recommendations, or visit a walk-in care center if you do not have a PCP, instead of going to the emergency room unless you are extremely ill with symptoms such as trouble breathing, bluish skin color, fever with a rash, dizziness or severe or persistent vomiting.
In addition to getting a flu vaccine and taking antivirals, health officials say you can prevent the spread of flu germs by:
• Washing your hands frequently with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers;
• Covering sneezes and coughs with a tissue, and disposing of tissues immediately; if no tissue is available sneezing or coughing into your inner elbow;
• Practicing social distancing.
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