It was detected in three adults in the Baltimore Metro area.
Baltimore, Md (KM) Maryland has recorded its first influenza case for the 2017-18 flu season. The state Department of Health says the disease was detected in three adults in the Baltimore Metro area. One of the patients had to hospitalized.
“This is a little later than last year,” says Brian Bauchaus, with the Division of Outbreak Investigation with the Maryland Department of Health. “Last year, we announced the first influenza case of the season on October 7th. So we’re about a week or two later. Whether that is just an early season, a little flurry of activity, or we’ll see the season hit a little earlier than normal, that remains toe be seen.”
Bauchaus also says this strain of the flu detected in these three patients was the Type-A, H-3 strains. “That’s a virus that we usually see some activity every year. It was the predominant virus in last year’s flu season,” he says.
Health officials recommend that you get vaccinated against the flu every year, especially if you’re at high risk of contracting influenza. The population most susceptible to catching the flu are children younger than five, adults 65 and older, pregnant women, residents of nursing homes and long term care facilities, and those with chronic medical symptoms.
Even if you were vaccinated last year, Bauchaus says you still need to get a flu shot this year. “Because viruses go through changes from year to year, it’s important to get the vaccine every year because of those changes,” he says.
The flu vaccine is widely available from doctors, and pharmacies.
The flu is primarily spread from person to person by coughing and sneezing. But Bauchaus says there are other ways to contract influenza. “There are probably some minor spread from someone who is sick, coughing into their hands and touching a door knob. And then someone comes along a few minutes later, touches the same surface and then touches their mouth, their nose or their eyes and transmission might happen that way as well,” he says.
The symptoms of the flu include fever, body aches, fatigue, coughing and sore throat. If you fee you are coming down with influenza, you’re encouraged to contact your doctor or other health care provider. Health officials say you should also drink plenty of fluids, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers and wash your hands often. In addition, avoid crowded places like shopping malls, and don’t make any unnecessary visits to hospitals or other places where people may catch the flu. Finally, the Health Department says, stay home from work or school if you’re sick to avoid spreading influenza to your co-workers or friends..
By Kevin McManus