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Flu makes an early appearance in First State

Delaware Public Media

The First State is seeing an early start to flu season.


The state Division of Public Health (DPH) reports two lab-confirmed cases of influenza in Delaware, two weeks before flu season officially begins.

One case involved a 50-year-old Sussex County woman and the other a 70-year-old New Castle County woman.  Both cases were A strain influenza, and neither required hospitalization.


These cases come earlier in the year than last year’s first confirmed cases, which were reported in late October.  

And last year was a record-breaking season. There were roughly 9,000 confirmed flu cases.  That’s the most since DPH started tracking the number in 2005. There were also 35 flu-related deaths

Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay points out that while the timing of these first two cases is unusual, people should jump to conclusions this year’s flu season.


“While it is unusual to see flu occur this early, we should not rush to assume that means this coming season will be a harsh one,” said Rattay in a statement. “The flu is unpredictable."

Rattay and other public health officials recommend getting vaccinated against this season’s flu as soon as possible. The flu vaccine is recommended for all those older than 6 months.

The Division of Public Health has a free flu clinic scheduled on October 5th in Wilmington, and a drive-thru flu clinic in Dover on October 9th.

Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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