NH DHHS Confirms First Influenza Case of 2010-11 Flu Season

Reminds Residents to Get Vaccinated

Concord, NH – The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has
identified the first case of influenza in New Hampshire for the 2010-11 influenza season. The Public Health Laboratories confirmed the case in an adult from Hillsborough County. At this time last year, the H1N1 pandemic was at its peak.

“The flu can be a serious illness,” said Public Health Director Dr. José Montero. “We hope this case serves as a reminder to everyone to take the time now to get vaccinated. There is plenty of vaccine available and it is the single best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from getting the flu this season.”

To date DHHS’s Immunization Program has distributed 97,590 doses of flu vaccine to medical providers around the State for children 18 and younger as part of the Vaccines for Children Program. People are encouraged to ask their health care provider for the flu vaccine. Influenza is highly contagious. It spreads from person to person through the air by coughing or sneezing. It can also be spread by direct contact with an infected person. Flu symptoms usually begin one to four days after being exposed to the virus.

Practicing good hygiene is also a critical step in guarding against influenza and other illnesses this winter. Washing your hands often, getting plenty of rest, coughing into your sleeve, and staying home when you are sick are all simple common sense steps to help stay healthy.

This year for the first time, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that everyone over the age of 6 months receive the flu vaccine if they do not have contraindications. Those with underlying medical conditions, children and young adults, and pregnant women continue to be considered at risk for complications from influenza.

The influenza vaccine this year protects against three different flu strains, including the 2009 H1N1 A strain. The other two flu strains included are the seasonal influenza H3N2 A strain and influenza B strain. So there is no longer a separate H1N1 vaccine, as it is now part of the seasonal flu vaccine.

For more information about the flu or flu vaccine contact the NH Immunization Program at 271-4482 or the Infectious Disease Investigation and Surveillance Sections at 271-4496. You can also visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/flu or  www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/influenza/providers.htm  for regular updates of the latest flu conditions in New Hampshire and nationally.