Delaware Public Media

Flu not very active in Delaware; officials warn that could change

Nov 13, 2018

The influenza virus has not been especially active in Delaware so far this season despite getting an early start.

16 flu cases were recorded in Delaware before the official start to the flu season in early October, but since then only 42 cases have been reported statewide.

Delaware’s Medical Director Rick Hong says the flu can be difficult to predict.

“We have certain seasons that kind of start early and then keep going up, others start later, others have multiple waves or peaks during the season,” said Hong. “So I really don’t have a good reason why we saw so many cases early and then things have kind of slowed down a little bit.”

Hong adds a slow start is no indication this will not be a big year for the flu, and he still urges all Delawareans to get vaccinated.

“The influenza vaccine may take a couple weeks for it to kick in. That’s why we do recommend getting it earlier rather than later to get your influenza vaccine before the peak hits,” said Hong.

Hong points to a late peak in last year’s flu season—which broke state records with more than 9,000 flu cases, more than 1,200 hospitalizations and 35 flu-related deaths.

Of the 42 flu cases so far this season, 20 have been from Kent County, 14 from New Castle and eight from Sussex. 88% of all flu cases have been strain A influenza virus and there have been 15 hospitalizations.

No flu-related deaths have been reported at this time.