12:33 PM EDT, October 19, 2012
Maryland has confirmed its first cases of seasonal influenza, state health officials announced Friday, several months earlier than last season.
Four children in the Baltimore region have laboratory-confirmed cases. One was hospitalized, but all are doing well, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said. Three were type A (H3N2) influenza, while one had type B influenza.
The first seasonal case of last season was confirmed in December 2011.
"Flu is here earlier this year than last year, and we are seeing two different flu strains," said Frances Phillips, DHMH deputy secretary of Public Health Services. "This really stresses the importance of getting the flu vaccine, and getting it as soon as possible."
Health officials urge everyone older than 6 months to get the flu vaccine, especially those at-risk, including children 6 months to 18, adults 50 and older; pregnant women; and those with chronic or immune-weakening conditions.
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