Delaware’s Dr. Vibha Sanwal Receives CDC’s Childhood Immunization Champion Award

Picture of Dr. Vibha Sanwal
Dr. Vibha Sanwal

Dover Dr. Vibha Sanwal[/caption] – Vibha Sanwal, MD, from Rainbow Pediatrics of Georgetown & Lewes, has been named a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Childhood Immunization Champion for her outstanding efforts to promote childhood immunizations in her clinic offices. The Division of Public Health’s (DPH) Immunization Program nominated the pediatrician for the award.

Dr. Sanwal is recognized for embracing the Assessment, Feedback, Incentive & eXchange (AFIX) assessment process by reviewing patient charts against the Immunization Information System (IIS) and updating individual immunization records as patients came in during their scheduled office visits. Her clinic staff also reviewed their patient roster to ensure that the roster in the IIS matched the patient roster in their Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system. This process enables the IIS to reflect her clinic’s true coverage rates for all the vaccine-preventable diseases and provides a roadmap to ensure all her patients get each of the vaccines needed to stay healthy.

“Through the Childhood Immunization Champion awards, CDC and Delaware proudly acknowledge Dr. Sanwal’s passion, hard work and commitment to children’s health by working to eliminate vaccine preventable diseases in our state,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay.

“I am honored to be recognized as the Immunization Champion for Delaware,” Dr. Sanwal said. “Vaccinations prevent disease and reduce suffering, improve our quality of life, and help our children live long, fulfilling lives. We will continue to work hard to improve the immunization rate of our population at Rainbow Pediatrics.”

National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW), April 21 to 28, 2018, is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and to celebrate the achievements of immunization programs in promoting healthy communities throughout the United States. Each year during NIIW, the CDC Foundation honors health professionals and community leaders from around the country with the CDC Childhood Immunization Champion awards. These awards acknowledge the outstanding efforts of those individuals who strive to ensure that children in their communities are fully immunized against 14 preventable diseases before the age of two.

“The tremendous success of CDC’s immunization programs to protect the nation’s children from vaccine-preventable diseases is a direct result of the efforts of childhood immunization champions,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC. “We cannot overstate the value of the dedication our Champions have shown, which ultimately protects our children, schools, and communities from serious diseases.”

CDC Childhood Immunization Champions were selected from a pool of health professionals, coalition members, community advocates and other immunization leaders. State Immunization Programs coordinated the nomination process and submitted nominees to CDC. One winner was selected in each of the 50 participating states and the District of Columbia.

For profiles of other CDC Childhood Immunization Champion award winners, visit https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/champions.

For information on immunization schedules for infants and children, visit: http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dph/dpc/immunize-children.html.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


Four More Mumps Cases Identified, Bringing Total to 19

DOVER — The Division of Public Health (DPH) has identified four more cases of the mumps in Delaware as part of its ongoing investigation of an outbreak among attendees at two multi-cultural dances in New Castle County, bringing the total number of mumps cases in 2018 to 19. At least 11 of the 19 persons with mumps attended either the Feb. 10, or March 3, 2018, social dance (Baile Mexicano) that took place at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington. All 19 individuals reside in New Castle County. The age ranges of adults with the mumps virus are 21 to 57 years old. Additionally, there was one child under the age of 5 infected.

This is the first time that more than three mumps cases have been recorded during any calendar year since at least 2005. DPH recommends that anyone who attended either the Feb. 10 or March 3, 2018, dances contact their primary care physician to determine if they may have contracted mumps and if they and their family or close contacts need to receive vaccination against mumps.

“It’s extremely important to do everything you can do to protect yourself and your family from diseases like the mumps,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “The best protection against mumps is to make sure you and everyone in your home is up to date on their mumps vaccinations. Since everyone needs at least two vaccinations, and sometimes even three, knowing your vaccine schedule is vital.”

Patients who attended one of the above dances or who live with someone who attended one of the events who subsequently developed mumps, and who do not have health insurance or whose insurance does not cover the mumps/measles/rubella vaccine (MMR), should call one of the following DPH clinics: In New Castle County, call the Hudson State Service Center Immunization Clinic at 302-283-7587, (and select option #2) for an appointment to get an MMR vaccine; patients who live in Kent County and need vaccination may call DPH’s Kent County Immunization Clinic at 302-857-5140, and those in Sussex County may call DPH’s Georgetown Immunization Clinic at 302-515-3220.

Mumps is an acute viral infection spread through saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose or throat. An infected person can spread the virus by coughing, sneezing, or talking, sharing items, such as cups or eating utensils, with others, and touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that a substantial increase in the number of mumps outbreaks and outbreak-associated cases have occurred in the United States since late 2015.

Symptoms typically start with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite, followed by swollen salivary glands, which results in puffy cheeks and a swollen jaw. Symptoms typically appear 16 to 18 days after infection, but can range from 12 to 25 days after infection. Some people with mumps may not have any symptoms. Most people with mumps recover completely in a few weeks. However, mumps can occasionally cause complications, especially in adults.

People known or suspected to have mumps should stay away from school or work until five days after the onset of swollen salivary glands, as there is no specific treatment for mumps.

The CDC recommends children get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 to 6 years of age. Teens and adults who did not get the recommended MMR vaccines per the above schedule should be vaccinated so they are up to date. During outbreaks, the CDC also recommends that those at highest risk due to exposure to people with mumps should receive a third dose of MMR.

Mumps is a reportable disease in Delaware. Suspected cases of mumps should be reported to DPH via fax at 302-223-1540; email at reportdisease@delaware.gov; or phone, 302-744-4990. Providers are asked not to wait for laboratory test results to return before reporting.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


DPH Announces Delaware Flu Case Likely Related to Contact With Pigs At County Fair in Maryland

DOVER – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced today the state’s first laboratory-confirmed case of a variant influenza virus (in this instance H3N2v) in a female Sussex County resident under age 18, who had close contact with pigs at a county fair in Maryland. The case is mild and the individual is recovering. No additional information will be released on the individual to protect her privacy.

Any individual who visited a Maryland County fair within the last seven to ten days, had contact with pigs, and has subsequently developed flu symptoms after their last exposure, should call their medical provider to discuss the potential need for a flu test.

CDC flier on how to prevent the spread of flu between pigs and humans at fairs.
CDC flier on how to prevent the spread of flu between pigs and humans at fairs.

When an influenza virus that normally infects pigs is found in people, it is called a “variant” influenza virus. While it is not possible to determine exactly where the individual contracted the variant flu, also commonly known as the “swine flu”, the Maryland Department of Agriculture has been investigating the appearance of this virus in pigs at the fairs in Charles and Frederick Counties. The Delaware resident reportedly had close contact with pigs at the Anne Arundel County Fair, the first suspected case of variant influenza from that event. Today the Maryland Department of Health announced “presumptive” positive cases of variant flu in Maryland residents who had close contact with pigs at the Anne Arundel County Fair as well.

Most commonly, human infections with swine flu occur in people who have been exposed to infected pigs (e.g., children handling pigs at agricultural fairs or workers in the swine industry). It is rare for influenza viruses that normally infect pigs to spread to people, but it is possible. Illnesses associated with variant influenza virus infections are usually mild with symptoms similar to those of seasonal flu, including fever and respiratory symptoms, such as sore throat and cough. While rare, limited human-to-human transmission of this variant also has occurred in the past, but has never been widespread or sustained. Such viruses should be taken seriously. The treatment recommendations for this strain of influenza are the same as for seasonal flu.

Individuals at higher risk for complications of influenza should consider avoiding exposure to pigs and swine barns, especially where sick pigs have been identified. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that individuals not at high risk for complications wash hands often with soap and running water before and after exposure to pigs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. For additional recommendations visit the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/swineflu/variant/preventspreadfactsheet.htm.

DPH urges all Delawareans 6 months of age and older to get vaccinated from the flu. It is recommended that people get the flu shot to protect themselves from the strains circulating among humans and because it can help reduce the impact of any new strains circulating in animals. While the flu vaccine will not offer protection from the variant types of flu found in animals, it will protect from strains that pass easily from human to human. If someone is not vaccinated, it is possible for a person to get the human strain of influenza flu and subsequently the variant animal flu (or vice versa) at the same time. Two viruses in the same body means a potential recombination of the viruses could occur in that person and a “new” virus could be created that can spread more effectively person to person than current strains of the variant flu.

In Delaware, DPH is preparing to kick off its flu season activities with two free community flu clinics. The first will be held Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Porter State Service Center, 511 W. 8th St., Wilmington. The second will be a large-scale drive-through flu clinic on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in front of the DelDOT Administration Building on Route 113 South (800 Bay Road), Dover.

The flu is easy to transmit from person to person. Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against influenza virus infection to develop in the body, Delawareans are encouraged to get vaccinated before influenza begins spreading in their community. Finding a nearby flu clinic or vaccination site is easier than ever before. Visit flu.Delaware.gov for a list of DPH clinics or Google “CDC flu finder,” enter your ZIP code, and find nearby sites offering vaccinations.

Last flu season, Delaware had over 4,500 confirmed flu cases, 15 of which were fatal. The new flu season starts in October.

“Flu season officially begins next week and vaccines are still the best protection. The flu vaccine can either prevent the illness or reduce its severity in humans,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “It is especially important that older Delawareans and those with underlying health conditions get their flu shots early, preferably in October.”

Flu symptoms come on suddenly, and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches and body aches, and fatigue. Some people get complications including pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections. Providers can prescribe antiviral medicines to make the illness milder, hasten recovery, and prevent serious complications, hospitalizations, and even death.

Delawareans can prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory illness with good hygiene: wash hands often with soap and water, use hand sanitizer with 60 percent alcohol, and cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or aim for your inner elbow. Stay six feet away from others who are coughing or sneezing, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Persons with flu-like illness should stay home from work, school, and other gatherings and not return until free of fever – 100 degrees (37.8 degrees Celcius), without the use of fever-reducing medications for at least 24 hours.

If a medical provider suspects they have a patient with the variant flu virus, they should contact the DPH Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 302-744-4990 to coordinate appropriate testing.

Swine flu cannot be contracted from eating cooked pork products. Anyone with questions about influenza in swine or other animals should contact the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Poultry and Animal Health Section at 302-698-4500 or 800-282-8685 (Delaware only).

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


New Castle County Resident is First Flu-Related Death of the 2015-2016 Season

DOVER – Delaware’s Division of Public Health (DPH) is reporting the first flu-related death of the 2015-2016 flu season. The individual is an 88-year-old man from New Castle County who died on March 14, 2016. The Delaware Public Health Laboratory confirmed that he was infected with influenza A. The gentleman also had underlying health conditions.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family at this difficult time for them,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director. “This is an important reminder of how serious the flu can be, particularly among vulnerable populations like the very young, people with underlying conditions, and seniors.”

There are a total of 828 lab-confirmed cases for the current flu season in Delaware. In the 2014-2015 flu season, there were a total of 2,390 confirmed flu cases in Delaware, with 28 flu-related deaths.

The news of the state’s first flu-related fatality comes on the heels of DPH announcing a late, but significant increase in flu activity throughout Delaware. For the week ending March 12, there were 411 flu cases confirmed. The week before that number was 197.

Public Health officials encourage anyone, 6 months of age and older, who has not yet been vaccinated against the flu to do so as soon as possible. DPH continues to offer the vaccine at four of the State Service Centers. Information for these sites can be found at dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/fluclinics.html. Additionally, the vaccine is available through medical providers, pharmacies, and some grocery stores.

Flu vaccination reduces the risk of getting sick from the flu or spreading the disease to others. Delawareans are encouraged to prevent infection by taking simple everyday measures such as washing hands, using hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes and staying at home when sick. These efforts help stop the spread of respiratory illnesses including flu.

For more information on influenza prevention, diagnosis and treatment, call the Division of Public Health at 888-282-8672 or visit flu.delaware.gov.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit delawarerelay.com. Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


Delaware Confirms First Influenza Case for 2015-2016

DELAWARE CONFIRMS FIRST INFLUENZA CASE FOR 2015-2016

Dover, DE – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) reports the state’s first laboratory-confirmed case of influenza for the 2015-2016 flu season. The case involves a 26-year-old New Castle County man who visited the emergency room but was not hospitalized. He is recovering at home. There are two main types of influenza (flu) virus – types A and B – that routinely spread in people and are responsible for seasonal flu outbreaks each year. Delaware’s first case is an influenza A strain.

DPH urges all Delawareans 6 months of age and older who have not yet been vaccinated against the flu to get a vaccination as soon as possible. The flu is easy to transmit and you can get it from healthy – but unvaccinated – children and adults. That’s why DPH’s “Get It” campaign especially encourages healthy 19-49-year-olds – who often skip the flu shot – to get vaccinated. The vaccine is readily available through medical providers, pharmacies, and some grocery stores. DPH is conducting public flu clinics including some with evening hours at various locations in the state. For DPH flu clinic schedules this season, visit dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/fluclinics.html.

Flu vaccination reduces the risk of getting sick from the flu or spreading the disease to others. It is especially important that the following groups get flu shots:
• Pregnant women and their household contacts;
• Caregivers and household contacts of children younger than 6 months, since those children are too young to receive the vaccine;
• Seniors;
• Those with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems;
• Health care providers.

Delawareans are also encouraged to prevent infection by taking simple everyday measures such as washing hands, using hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes and staying at home when sick. These efforts help stop the spread of respiratory illnesses including flu.

Flu symptoms come on suddenly, and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches and body aches, and fatigue. Some people get complications including pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections. Providers can prescribe antiviral medicines to make illness milder, hasten recovery, and prevent serious complications, hospitalizations, and even death.

Beginning in October each year, DPH monitors the occurrence of influenza-like illness in hospitals, selected long-term care facilities and medical clinics to track flu trends in the state. During the 2014-2015 flu season, there were 28 flu-related deaths and 2,390 confirmed cases of influenza in Delaware, a significant increase in activity from the prior flu season.

For more information on influenza prevention, diagnosis and treatment, call the Division of Public Health at 888-282-8672 or visit www.flu.delaware.gov.

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Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@delaware.gov

Delaware Health and Social ServicesDivision of Public Health

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.