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The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

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DHMH Press Releases : Respiratory Illness Investigation



BALTIMORE (March 7, 2012) – The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) is working with the Calvert County Health Department to investigate four cases of severe respiratory illnesses in the same immediate family. Three have died. Testing by the DHMH Laboratories Administration has confirmed that two of the cases had Influenza H3, a strain of Influenza A that has been circulating this season. These cases were complicated by bacterial co-infections, a known complication of influenza infection.
Additional laboratory evaluation and investigation are ongoing. At this time, there is no indication of any other clusters of severe respiratory illness in the state. DHMH continues to coordinate with the Maryland Emergency Management Administration (MEMA) to update the Governor and local health and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) partners.
The 'flu' season typically can last as late as May. Vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza and its related complications that can lead to hospitalization and even death. DHMH recommends all individuals over the age of six months get vaccinated. In addition, DHMH reminds Marylanders to take other precautionary measures, such as hand washing and staying home if sick. Individuals with influenza-like illness (fever and sore throat or cough) should consult their healthcare providers for evaluation.
More information regarding the Calvert County investigation will be provided as it becomes available.