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Data suggests Delaware could see heightened flu season

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Delaware Public Media
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The Delaware Division of Public Health has deemed Oct. 2 as the start of flu season.

Officials are urging people to get vaccinated in the face of a potentially heightened flu season.

DPH said flu data from Southern Hemisphere countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, predict this year’s flu season could be more active than previous seasons.

DPH Epidemiologist Camille Moreno said for the first time the state is tracking rapid flu tests, as well as lab tests.

She said it allows officials to track the spread of flu separately from COVID-19.

“We’re using that to support and to understand better which virus is circulating versus just a respiratory illness without any type of confirmation.”

This season’s flu shot covers four strains of influenza.

The vaccine is available for anyone older than six months, but Moreno adds there is a different vaccine formulated for people 65 that creates a stronger immune response.

She suggests those individuals should consult with their primary care physician about which shot is the best for them.

Last season, the state recorded more than 2,700 flu cases in Delaware.

Mark Arehart is an award-winning reporter/producer. Before returning to Delaware, Arehart was a reporter for WKSU and Ideastream Public Media in Northeast Ohio. He previously hosted Morning Edition and covered the arts scene for Delaware Public Media. He has worked for KNKX in Seattle, Kansas Public Radio, and KYUK in Bethel, Alaska.