DPH Announces First Flu-related Death in Delaware


Delaware Public Health officials say the state has had its first suspected flu-related death. Officials say a Kent County resident between the ages of 55 and 64 was not reported as being vaccinated against the flu. Public Health officials say the flu started early this year – and has been very active in the First State with over 5600 cases reported since October 2nd.

Additional information from DPH release:

According to the recently launched Influenza Dashboard on My Healthy Community (https://myhealthycommunity.dhss.delaware.gov/portals/flu/locations/state/seasons/2022-2023/overview), a total of 5,609 total flu cases have been reported to date during the 2022-2023 flu season. The flu season began Oct 2, 2022. For the week of Dec. 4 to Dec 10, the most recent week for which case data is available, there were 1,125 laboratory-confirmed cases of the flu reported. Although there have been 276,911 flu vaccine doses administered from Oct 2 to Dec 3, it only accounts for 28.6% of the population. 

Seniors ages 65 and older have the highest vaccination rate of any age group in Delaware with 63.3% vaccinated. This population makes up 41.6% of the state’s total vaccinated population. Every other age group has a vaccination rate of under 30% with persons in the 18-34 age demographic having the lowest at 11.1%. The influenza data dashboard is updated weekly on Thursdays at the state and county level, and monthly for other geographies. While flu cases continue to be high, flu hospitalizations remain relatively low.  As of Dec. 3, the most recently available data for flu hospitalizations, there have been 47 hospitalizations for the season to date.

DPH reminds the public it is not too late to get vaccinated against the flu. Visit flu.delaware.gov and click on the Find A Flu Shot Near You button on the webpage for a list of locations where you can receive your flu shot. As a reminder,it is safe to get your flu shot and COVID-19 booster the same day if you are eligible for both.  

Flu, RSV (Respiratory syncytial virus) and COVID-19 are respiratory illnesses that can have varying degrees of symptoms, from no symptoms to severe symptoms. Because these viruses share many of the same signs and symptoms, it is often difficult to tell the difference between them. Common symptoms between these viruses include fever, cough, fatigue, runny or stuffy nose, and several others. Testing is needed to confirm if you are sick with these viruses. If you or a family member need to get tested for the flu, DPH recommends contacting your primary health care provider.  

If you get sick with flu, influenza antiviral drugs may be a treatment option your primary health care provider recommends. Antiviral drugs work best when started early, such as one to two days after your flu symptoms begin. When treatment is started within 1-2 days after flu symptoms begin, influenza antiviral drugs can lessen symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by 1 or 2 days. 

Delawareans are encouraged to take the following preventive actions to reduce the spread of flu and other respiratory viruses: 

  • Get vaccinated. While there is currently no vaccine for RSV, there are vaccines for both flu and COVID-19. Make sure you are up-to-date and get your flu and COVID-19 vaccines now. You can get them both during the same visit. 
  • Stay home if sick. 
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. 
  • Wash hands frequently. 
  • Test for COVID-19 if sick, and if that’s negative, consider calling your doctor to see if you should be tested for flu. If you are diagnosed with the flu, your doctor may be able to prescribe antivirals to ease your symptoms. 

For additional information call 1-800-282-8672 or visit flu.delaware.gov. The best source of information about the flu vaccine is your primary care provider or a health care professional.