No announcement yet.

Maryland: Residents can track flu

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Maryland: Residents can track flu


    Residents can track flu
    By Erica Kritt, Times Staff Writer
    Sunday, October 19, 2008

    In the past, the phrase ?the flu is going around? was strictly based on anecdotal evidence.

    Now, Marylanders will be able to track where the flu is in the state and where it has been.

    The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is debuting a new program that will rely on the state?s residents to report weekly if they have had the flu.

    Rene Najera, the state?s flu surveillance coordinator, said this program will help the state direct efforts in getting the word out about the flu and making sure local hospitals and health departments have the resources they need to handle the virus.

    ?We can say the flu is here, get your flu shot,? Najera said.

    Doris Hare, communicable disease supervisor at the Carroll County Health Department, said knowing where the flu is may help spread concern and alert the public about proper precautions.

    If the flu is near, the Health Department and hospitals can ramp up awareness on preventing the virus.

    The program the state is setting up is voluntary and relies on the Internet. People who want to sign up are asked to visit roll. Once there, people may sign up to receive a weekly e-mail with a link to a survey asking about flu activity.

    To sign up, the system asks for a birth date, the county or ZIP code you live in, an e-mail address and if you have had a flu vaccine, and whether you work with patients or biological samples from patients in a health-care setting.

    he information is put into a weekly report available online at

    With just about a week of exposure, about 150 people have signed up to track the flu.

    So far, Hare said there have been no reported cases of the flu in the region, and with the weather being warmer than normal, there haven?t been a lot of people getting the flu vaccine.

    Reach staff writer Erica Kritt at 410-857-7876 or

    Where to get vaccinated in Carroll

    When: 3:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday

    Where: Carroll County Health Department, 290 S. Center St., Westminster

    When: 9-11:30 a.m. Thursday

    Where: North Carroll Senior and Community Center, 2328 Hanover Pike, Hampstead

    When: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 3

    Where: Carroll County Health Department, 290 S. Center St., Westminster

    Information: The Health Department has vaccines available for people 18 and older. Call 410-876-3003.

    Cost: Flu vaccine is $20 for all people not eligible for Medicare Part B. Medicare will be billed for Medicare Part B participants who present their Medicare card and are not enrolled in a Medicare HMO. Medicare will only pay for HMO participants to receive their flu and pneumonia vaccine through their HMO. The Health Department will not be able to bill the Medicare HMO. Medicare HMO participants who choose to receive their shots from the Health Department will be charged $20.