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Delaware Health Alert Network #124

November 14, 2006 10:05 am


Health Advisory
INFLUENZA UPDATE


Delaware

The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is reporting the state's first laboratory confirmed case of influenza. The case is a 6 month old Sussex County resident who was treated as an outpatient. The Type A influenza was confirmed in the DPH laboratory by PCR.

In addition to laboratory testing, DPH conducts surveillance for influenza by monitoring the occurrence of influenza like illness (ILI) in all hospitals and selected long term care facilities, large corporations and stand alone medical clinics. Reports are provided to DPH weekly. (ILI is fever equal to or greater than 100 degrees F, oral or equivalent, and cough and/or sore throat, in the absence of a known cause). ILI activity has not increased so far this year. Nor have reports of respiratory symptoms among patients seen in Delaware's emergency rooms, also reported to DPH weekly.

National

During week 44 (October 29 – November 4, 2006), a low level of influenza activity was reported in the United States. Eighty-four (4.8%) specimens tested by U.S. World Health Organization (WHO) and National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS) collaborating laboratories were positive for influenza. The proportion of patient visits to sentinel providers for influenza-like illness (ILI) and the proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza were below baseline levels.

Vaccine Availability

DPH is aware that although vaccine supplies should be plentiful this year, orders are being filled slowly. DPH clinics are being conducted as scheduled.

A DPH clinic schedule can be found here: http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/fluclinicschedule2006.html. People in one of the following groups can be vaccinated at DPH clinics (6 months to 18 years require appointment).

  • Children age 6-59 months;
  • Adults 50 years and older;
  • People ages 2-49 with chronic medical conditions;
  • Adults or children with spinal cord injuries, seizure disorders, or other muscle and nerve conditions that lead to breathing and swallowing problems.
  • Women who will be pregnant during flu season. Vaccination can occur in any trimester;
  • Household contacts of out-of-home caregivers of children less than six months old.
  • Residents of long-term care facilities;
  • Healthcare workers involved in direct patient care; and
  • Out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of people in the other high-risk categories.

A comprehensive schedule can be found at this website: http://www.flucliniclocator.org/

DPH has distributed 9,580 doses of vaccine to Vaccine For Children (VFC) providers in the state. This vaccine is for Medicaid and uninsured children who have enrolled in the VFC program.

Reminder

DPH strongly encourages other providers (for example, school wellness centers, long term care facilities, physicians, etc.) to submit influenza specimens to the DPH Laboratory for culture confirmation and subtyping (throat/NP/nasal wash) to help with surveillance. Culture and subtype testing by the DPH Laboratory is done free of charge & results are sent back to the requesting physician or hospital as soon as test results are available. To submit a specimen for culture, contact the DPH laboratory (302-223-1520) to request influenza virus isolation kits and obtain information about specimen transport to the laboratory.

For more information:

Categories of Health Alert messages:

  • Health Alert: Conveys the highest level of importance; warrants immediate action or attention.
  • Health Advisory: Provides important information for a specific incident or situation; may not require immediate action.
  • Health Update: Provides updated information regarding an incident or situation; unlikely to require immediate action.
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