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Delaware Health Alert Network #197

September 29, 2009 12:23 pm


Health Alert
INFLUENZA ACTIVITY IN DELAWARE

The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is reporting a modest increase in influenza activity in Delaware based on the following information:

  • Laboratory confirmed influenza isolations – Twenty-eight cases of novel H1N1 influenza were reported by the DPH and commercial laboratories during the week of September 13, and 43 were reported during the week of September 20. This is compared to 14 cases reported during the week of September 6.
  • Reports of influenza-like illness (ILI) – DPH maintains a network sentinel healthcare providers who report cases of ILI weekly. During the week of September 13, five sentinel providers reported an increase in ILI from 3 to 22 cases.

DPH uses a variety of information sources to assess influenza activity in the community. Hospital emergency departments have not reported similar increases. Nevertheless, the increase in confirmed isolations and ILI as reported by sentinel physicians has changed Delaware’s assessment of influenza activity as reported to CDC from sporadic to widespread. It is important to note that this technical designation does not imply that Delaware is experiencing the same magnitude of influenza activity as had occurred this spring. Although this is not cause for alarm it is an important reminder that we all need to do what we can to be prepared.

Guidance

DPH recommends the following as a result of the increased reports of influenza activity.

Finally, in addition to vaccination, DPH recommends the following everyday preventive measures to all Delawareans:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people. In medical offices, designate a “sick room” for febrile patients.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.) This guidance does not apply to health care settings where the exclusion period should be continued for 7 days from symptom onset or until the resolution of symptoms, whichever is longer;
  • Keep away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick.

For More Information

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