Maryland's First Case of Seasonal Flu 2016

Maryland sees 1st confirmed case of seasonal flu, urges residents to get shots. Department Secretary, Deputy Secretary get vaccinated in Charles County.

Baltimore, MD (October 7, 2016) – The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is announcing the arrival of seasonal influenza, with the first confirmed case of the 2016-2017 influenza season. The first laboratory-confirmed case of the flu has been diagnosed in an adult in the National Capitol Region. With an extended weekend in store for many Marylanders, now is a good time to get a flu shot.


Both Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary Van T. Mitchell and Deputy Secretary Haft received their flu shots today at the Charles County Health Department. “We promote awareness of a number of different viruses throughout the year,” said Mitchell. “It’s important for Marylanders to remember that the flu is extremely easy to catch and that it still can cause death.”    


Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease that may lead to serious complications, hospitalization or even death. 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. Common symptoms include fever, body aches, fatigue, coughing, and sore throat. Symptoms usually begin one to four days after being exposed to the virus.


The influenza vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your family from becoming ill with influenza. Yearly vaccinations are important because the strains of influenza that circulate change over time. Influenza vaccine is recommended for everyone over the age of 6 months. It is especially important for people who are at high risk for influenza-related complications and severe disease including: 


  • Children younger than 5 years old,
  • People 65 and older,
  • Pregnant women,
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities,
  • American Indians and Alaskan Natives,
  • People of any age with chronic medical conditions, and
  • People undergoing therapy or with a condition that may weaken their immune systems.
  • People caring for someone in these groups should be vaccinated to avoid spreading the disease to them. These include health workers and household contacts of people at risk for complications from the flu. 


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. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that the FluMist nasal spray vaccine not be used for the 2016-2017 influenza season, because of concerns about that form of vaccine’s effectiveness against certain strains of influenza. Flu shots, however, are still recommended and widely available.


This year's influenza vaccine formulation includes the A (H1N1) strain. The flu strain factoring in the season’s first case in Maryland was type A (H1N1); the patient was not hospitalized. Last season, the first confirmed case of influenza was reported on November 4, 2015.


If you believe you are ill with influenza:

  • Contact your healthcare provider for management of flu symptoms or treatment of any complications.
  • 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.
  • Avoid crowded places like shopping malls or public transportation.
  • Avoid unnecessary visits to hospitals or other settings where people with other conditions may get your flu and be affected severely.
  • Stay home from work or school whenever possible to avoid spreading the flu to your friends and coworkers.

Stay up-to-date on influenza activity in Maryland by visiting for weekly updates.


Maryland has an established 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 might not seek medical care. Please volunteer!  Sign up via the Internet at to receive online 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, or, or call CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO. 

Open Enrollment 2016 Dates and Locations
The Lower Shore Health Insurance Assistance Program provides one-on-one help for residents of Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties applying for health insurance through the state’s marketplace, Maryland Health Connection. The number is 855-445-5540. 
The open enrollment period for Qualified Health Plans through Maryland Health Connection will be held from November 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017. 
Be Aware, Get Screened
Be Aware. Get Screened.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! It's a great time to schedule your mammogram and your insurance probably pays for it. Talk to your health care provider about the right screening tests for you. Don't have insurance or have expensive co-pays? If you can't pay for your screening, Call 410.632.0056 to see if you are eligible for help. Screening saves lives. 

Read more to learn about Breast Cancer Screening Resources and facts you should know.

FACT SHEET (click the image)


RESOURCE LIST (click the image)
Seasonal Flu Vaccination Clinics
The Worcester County Health Department urges all residents age 6 months and older to get vaccinated for the 2016-2017 seasonal flu. 
This year’s vaccine provides protection against four strains of flu virus expected to circulate this season.  All people, including pregnant women and those with medical conditions, are strongly recommended to get a flu vaccine each year. 
People age 65 years and older have a choice of two flu vaccines available to them at the Worcester County Health Department. They can choose to receive a regular flu vaccine or a high dose flu vaccine which may result in a stronger immune response against the flu. 
Flu vaccine is available for Worcester county residents at the health department locations in Pocomoke, Snow Hill and Berlin. Community clinics will be held from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. on the following dates. Appointments are strongly encouraged to avoid delays, but walk-ins will be accepted.


  • Mondays, October 17, October 24, and October 31 at the Pocomoke Health Center. For an appointment call 410-957-2005.
  • Fridays, October 21, October 28, and November 4 at the Berlin Health Center For an appointment call 410-629-0164.
  • Fridays, October 21, October 28, and November 4 at the Snow Hill Health Department. For an appointment call 410-632-1100.
Worcester County Health Department will bill Medicare and Medicaid for flu vaccine.  Medicare or Medicaid cards must be presented at the time of service.  For all others, the suggested donation for the flu vaccine is $15. No one will be denied service due to inability to pay. 
For more information visit the Worcester County Health Department’s website or call us at 410-632-1100. 
Maryland Reports First Cold-Related Death this Season

Maryland reports first cold-related death this season.

BALTIMORE, MD (December 23, 2015) – The first Maryland death related to hypothermia this season has been reported, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The death was an adult male (aged 45-64 years) in Kent County with underlying medical conditions. The death occurred at the end of November. No additional details will be released, to protect the privacy of the family. There were 41 hypothermia-related deaths in Maryland during the 2014-2015 winter weather season.

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