Maryland reports first two flu cases for the season

The Maryland Department of Health announced the first confirmed cases of the flu Tuesday, an adult and child in Central Maryland and the Eastern Shore.

They didn’t provide further details about the victims because of privacy laws.

The flu, or influenza, is a respiratory disease spread through coughing, sneezing and other direct contact with someone who is infected or contaminated objects.

Symptoms include fever, body aches, fatigue, coughing, and sore throat. Severe cases can lead to hospitalizations and death.

FAQ: What you need to know about this year's flu vaccine »

State health officials encouraged people to get vaccinated.

“The influenza vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your family from becoming ill with influenza,” said Fran Phillips, the health department’s deputy secretary for public health services, in a statement. “Getting vaccinated each year is important, because the strains of influenza that circulate change over time. This season, influenza vaccines have been updated to better match the circulating strains.”

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