www.baltimoresun.com/health/bs-hs-first-case-flu-20111230,0,5307179.story

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Season's first lab-confirmed case of flu recorded in Baltimore area

Case recorded two months later than last season

By Meredith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun

11:30 AM EST, December 30, 2011

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The first laboratory-confirmed case of seasonal flu was reported Friday by state health officials, who are using the milestone to remind residents to get vaccinated for the virus. The case involves an adult in the Baltimore region, and comes two months later than the first case reported last season.

The flu is spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing or contact with an infected person. Symptoms usually begin a few days later and include fever, body aches, fatigue, coughing and sore throat.

This year's vaccine contains three strains expected to be the most prevalent this year and is widely available in doctors' offices, retail outlets and local health departments. It is recommended for everyone over six months old.

Officials say residents can also help the state track the flu by signing up to report flu-like symptoms at http://www.dhmh.maryland.gov. Click on seasonal flu information and go to "be a flu fighter."

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