Flu Remains Steady in Maryland

 (Baltimore, MD) January 18, 2013 – Weekly surveillance indicates that influenza remains steady around Maryland, but some indicators suggest declines. The pattern in Maryland is consistent with what is being seen in some other parts of the country. At the same time, however, laboratory testing confirmed this week that a Baltimore area child who died in December tested positive for influenza. The child also had an underlying health condition.

For the week that ended on January 12, emergency department visits for influenza-like illness were up, as were the number of people who reported that they had influenza-like illness to Maryland’s influenza tracking survey (MRITS). Influenza associated hospitalizations were down, as were the proportion of positive lab tests. More information about Maryland influenza activity can be found at: http://ideha.dhmh.maryland.gov/influenza/fluwatch

An annual vaccination remains the best way to prevent influenza and its related complications, and it’s not too late to get vaccinated. While some healthcare providers no longer have influenza vaccine available, there is still vaccine in Maryland; DHMH urges people whose usual healthcare provider no longer has influenza vaccine available to check in with other community vaccinators, such as pharmacies, heath departments or other healthcare providers.

People who develop influenza-like illnesses (fever plus cough or sore throat) should stay home from work or school while they’re sick. Most people recover from influenza within a few days to less than two weeks, even without any specific treatment. However, certain people who might be at greater risk of complications if they get influenza should check in with their healthcare provider if they develop an influenza-like illness, to see if they might benefit from an antiviral medication, like Tamiflu. Those people include young children, people at 65 and over, people with underlying medical conditions, and pregnant women.

Laboratory testing confirmed influenza infection in the child who died. Out of privacy concerns, DHMH will not release any additional information about the child. This is the first Maryland influenza-associated pediatric death reported during this 2012-2013 influenza season, and the first since the 2009-2010 season, when there were two influenza-associated pediatric deaths.

Only pediatric influenza-associated deaths are required to be reported to DHMH. The Department does not have data related to adult influenza-related deaths. Additional information about influenza is available at: http://ideha.dhmh.maryland.gov/influenza/


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