Child Dies of Flu in New Jersey as 1000s of Cases Reported Throughout Region

A 51-year-old Kent County woman and a 55-year-old New Castle County woman were the most recent casualties

Flu claimed the lives of two more people in Delaware, bringing this flu season's death toll in the state to five, public health officials said.

A 51-year-old Kent County woman and a 55-year-old New Castle County woman were the most recent casualties, according to the Division of Public Health. Both women were infected with Influenza A and had other, underlying health conditions.

Authorities announced the first three flu-related deaths on Jan 2. A 65-year-old man, 73-year-old man and 77-year-old woman were all infected with Influenza A.

There were 687 confirmed flu cases as of Dec. 29, and 118 hospitalizations in the state, according to health officials.

In central New Jersey, a child died last month, the state's Department of Health announced Tuesday. New Jersey has reported more than 400 flu cases since October.

In Pennsylvania, more than 6,435 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases have been reported since the state Department of Health started tracking the flu season in October. Confirmed reports were received from 66 counties out of the 67 counties throughout the state.

At least eight adults have died from flu-associated illnesses in Pennsylvania, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

There were no influenza-associated pediatric deaths reported as of the last week of December. No flu-related pediatric deaths have been reported this season, according to the health department.

So, is the flu shot still available for those who haven't gotten one yet?

Absolutely. Immunizations are usually available through March.

What are the most vulnerable populations?

Those on either side of the age spectrum: the elderly and the very young ones are most at risk. Immunizations are given now at six months of age in split doses. In general, it also includes those with lung issues, and diabetics.

Does that mean that young, healthy people have nothing to worry about?

No. Young people, especially those in school or university, are constantly surrounded by their peers and still run the risk of contagion in close quarters.

Beyond an immunization, what are some simple ways to lower the chance of catching the flu?

One thing everyone should do every time they come into the office is clean everything, including computer keyboards, telephones and computer mouse. Wash hands and clothing, especially after coughing or touching door handles. This also applies to people who take public transportation and visit crowded places, such as restaurants and movie theaters.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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