Delaware flu deaths rise to 26

Dr. Karyl Rattay
Dr. Karyl Rattay (Photo: DHSS)

DOVER, DELAWARE (2/26/2015) Three new deaths have raised to 26 the number of flu fatalities in Delaware this season, state health officials reported this morning.

The increase in deaths comes as the number of lab-confirmed cases — 2,196 — is dropping.

Officials of the Division of Public Health are urging residents to protect themselves from the flu and check on the elderly or those who have underlying medical conditions and are more susceptible to the illness.

“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of prevention like washing hands and staying home when sick,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, division director. “And, we know that over half of the deaths (60 percent) occurred among people living at home. Checking on elderly or medically vulnerable relatives and neighbors is vital. The flu seen this season can cause a life-threatening illness very quickly in vulnerable people. Starting treatment in ill individuals as soon as possible is critically important.”

Officials advise that anyone with emerging flu symptoms should call, not visit, their medical providers, who may be able to prescribe anti-viral medication. Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue.

Tips for protection from the flu