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Wednesday
Jan302013

NH DHHS Reports Influenza Activity Remains a Concern; 35 NH Deaths 

Flu-Related Deaths in New Hampshire Now at 35



Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS) Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) reports that New Hampshire

is experiencing a more severe than usual influenza (flu) season. DPHS is

reporting flu-related deaths in New Hampshire this season are now at 35,

which is the highest number of flu-related deaths in a single season the

State has recorded since 1997. This trend compares to increases nationally

particularly among people 65 and older. DPHS is also reporting the

season’s first pediatric death in the State related to flu this season.

Due to confidentiality and privacy concerns, DPHS will not be releasing any

additional information about this case other than the child was less than

five years of age.



“One of the sad facts about influenza is that people can die from this

illness,” said NH Public Health Director Dr. José Montero, “and people

often tend to forget or ignore how serious it can be. The season is not

over, and can run into May so we continue to encourage people over the age

of 6 months to get vaccinated if they haven’t already done so this season.

While the flu vaccination is the single best way to prevent the flu, there

are also a number of things people can do to help stop the spread of

illnesses – such as washing your hands often, staying home from work or

school if you’re sick, covering your coughs and sneezes, get plenty of rest

and eat a healthy diet.”



The number of flu-related deaths in December were 13, which is the highest

number reported in the State for that month. So far this January there are

22 deaths reported – the highest number of flu-related deaths for that

month. While flu activity in the State remains widespread, the number of

outbreaks and reports of influenza illness in provider settings has

decreased.



Influenza is spread from person to person through secretions from coughing

and sneezing. Typical flu symptoms include fever, headache, extreme

tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and muscle aches.

An average of 25,000 people die each year in the United States due to

influenza.



Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting

that this national flu season started early and activity remains high, and

may for some time to come. The predominant strain of flu being seen is A

H3N2, which is covered by this year’s vaccine.



For more information on influenza and the vaccine, contact the NH

Immunization Program at 800-852-3345 ext. 4482 or 603-271-4482 or the

Communicable Disease Surveillance Section at 800-852-3345 ext. 0279 or

603-271-0279. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

website at www.cdc.gov  for more information or the DHHS website at

www.dhhs.nh.gov . To get the flu vaccine, contact your healthcare provider

or visit a local pharmacy.

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