Maryland officials confirm first cases of flu for the season

The Maryland Department of Health confirms the first cases of the flu in the state for the 2018-2019 influenza season.

Health officials say two laboratory-confirmed cases of the flu have been identified in one adult and one child in the Central and Eastern Shore regions of Maryland.

They say the flu strains have been confirmed as type A (H1) and Type B (Victoria).

The virus that causes influenza spreads from person to person through coughing or sneezing, as well as through direct contact with infected people and contaminated surfaces or objects, Maryland health officials say.

Common symptoms include fever, body aches, fatigue, coughing, and sore throat. Symptoms usually begin one to four days after being exposed to the virus.

They say getting a flu shot is the best way to prevent from getting sick, and passing it along to others.

The CDC has a tool to find locations to get a flu shot near you.

"The influenza vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your family from becoming ill with influenza," said Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services Fran Phillips, RN, MHA.

"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."

For more information regarding the 2018-2019 updated influenza vaccines and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) vaccine recommendations, visit the CDC website for more information.

Stay up-to-date on influenza activity in Maryland by visiting the Maryland Department of Health for weekly updates.