FIRST MARYLAND INFLUENZA CASE OF 2013-14 SEASON CONFIRMED

BALTIMORE (October 3, 2013) - Seasonal influenza has officially arrived in Maryland, with the first laboratory-confirmed case identified in a child from the National Capital Region who was briefly hospitalized and is now recovering, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) announced. The flu strain detected was type A (H1N1) influenza. Last season, the first case of influenza was reported on October 19, 2012.

“Maryland’s first confirmed seasonal flu case reminds us of the importance of getting vaccinated to protect ourselves and those around us,” said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, DHMH Secretary. “Influenza infection can be serious, but it can also be prevented.”

The influenza vaccine protects against both influenza A and B strains, including the H1N1 strain. The vaccine is widely available, and Maryland residents are urged to get protected now by contacting their health care provider, local health department or neighborhood pharmacy.

“We recommend that everyone above the age of 6 months get the seasonal flu vaccine,” said Dr. Laura Herrera, DHMH Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services. “Vaccine is available throughout Maryland, and we encourage everyone to get vaccinated now to avoid missing work and school this season.”

The virus that causes influenza spreads from person to person through coughing or sneezing, as well as through direct contact with infected people and contaminated surfaces or objects. Symptoms usually begin one to four days after being exposed to the virus, and include fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue and body aches.

Influenza vaccine is especially important for individuals who are at high risk for influenza-related complications and severe disease, including:
  • Children 6 months to 18 years of age;
  • Persons 50 years of age and older;
  • Pregnant women;
  • Persons of any age with chronic medical conditions; and
  • Persons with weakened immune systems.
Persons caring for someone in these groups or for infants too young to be vaccinated should make a special effort to get vaccinated to avoid spreading the disease. This includes healthcare workers, household contacts of individuals at risk for complications from the flu, and daycare or school workers.

Contact your healthcare provider, local health department, or neighborhood pharmacy to get vaccinated.
  • If you believe you are ill with influenza:
  • Stay home from work and school whenever possible to avoid spreading the flu to your friends and coworkers.
  • Get rest and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers and wash your hands often.
  • Contact your healthcare provider for management of flu symptoms or treatment of any complications.
Stay up-to-date on influenza activity in Maryland by visiting http://dhmh.maryland.gov/fluwatch for weekly updates.

Maryland has an Internet-based Maryland Resident Influenza Tracking Survey (MRITS). This tool is designed to enhance the state’s existing influenza surveillance by monitoring influenza-like illnesses among residents who may not seek medical care. Please volunteer! Sign up at http://flusurvey.dhmh.md.gov/ to receive on-line surveys where you can report any flu-like symptoms each week.

For more information about the seriousness of influenza and the benefits of vaccination, visit http://phpa.dhmh.maryland.gov/influenza/SitePages/Home.aspx or http://www.cdc.gov/flu/ or http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/index.htm or call CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO.

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WCHD News

Due to ongoing construction issues, the WACS Center will be closed through October 19 and move services to other locations. The center is scheduled to reopen on Monday, October 22nd.

All services at this site have been relocated to either Snow Hill or the Berlin Health Center. We apologize for any inconvenience. For more information or to check on the status of your appointment, please call 410-632-1100.

Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis.

This bacterium is found in the nose, throat and mouth of an infected person, and can be easily spread. Pertussis can occur at any age, but often causes serious problems in babies, and is usually milder in older children and adults. Children who are too young to be fully vaccinated and those that have not received all their vaccinations are at highest risk for severe illness and complications. Complications of pertussis can include pneumonia (infection of the lungs), encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), seizures, and other physical and medical outcomes associated with a severe cough.

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Our new Just Walk Worcester website has information on local parks, walking tips, and videos of trails in our area. If you like to walk, check it out! Click the image below to see the new site. 

 

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Snow Hill, MD- Worcester County Health Department will launch “Just Walk Worcester” on October 12. This new website will be an inclusive resource for finding places to walk and explore no matter where you are in the county. The site features maps of all local parks and trails as well as walking tips, helpful videos, and details about each area including the length of trails, if there are any fees and if the spot is pet-friendly. Residents can view drone footage of each trail, allowing walkers to know the ins and outs of the path before they even lace up their shoes.

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Due to ongoing construction issues, the WACS Center will be closed through October 19 and move services to other locations. The center is scheduled to reopen on Monday, October 22nd.

All services at this site have been relocated to either Snow Hill or the Berlin Health Center. We apologize for any inconvenience. For more information or to check on the status of your appointment, please call 410-632-1100.

 

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