BALTIMORE (March 9, 2012) -The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and the Calvert County Health Department continue to investigate a cluster of cases of severe respiratory illnesses in four members of the same immediate family, of whom three have died. To date, no additional related severe respiratory illnesses have been confirmed and no other similar clusters have been identified.
Testing by the DHMH Laboratories Administration has confirmed that all four cases had the H3N2 strain of influenza A, which is known to be one of the influenza strains currently circulating in Maryland and nationwide. At least two of these cases were complicated by bacterial co-infections with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Staphylococcus aureus co-infection is a known complication of influenza infection.
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. This season's influenza vaccine offers protection against influenza A H3N2 as well as influenza H1N1 and influenza B. 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.
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