NH DHHS - First Influenza Positive Test Result at State Lab

New Hampshire Residents Encouraged to Get a Seasonal Flu Vaccine

Concord, NH – The annual influenza (flu) season is about to begin and the

New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is announcing

the first positive influenza test result identified in the State Public

Health Laboratories (PHL). This finding means that the influenza virus is

circulating in the community and DHHS is encouraging all New Hampshire

residents to be vaccinated against the flu at their earliest convenience,

especially those who are at increased risk of complications.

“This positive lab result for influenza in a New Hampshire resident is

slightly earlier than usual,” said Dr. José Montero, “but this is the third

year in a row that we have had to make the announcement in September. Every

flu season is different and flu is very unpredictable, but I want to remind

everyone that an annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect

against influenza.”

Influenza can be a serious disease of the lungs, nose, and throat. The

illness is spread from person to person through the air by 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 23,000 people die each year in the United States due to influenza. Last

flu season in New Hampshire, 14 influenza-related deaths were reported. The

vaccine itself does not give you the flu and is very safe.

The flu season usually lasts from October through May, so the Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DHHS recommend that everyone who

is at least six months of age be vaccinated as soon as they can early in

the season. The vaccine is available in the traditional shot form for

people six months of age and older and in a nasal mist form for healthy

people aged 2–49 years who are not pregnant. Residents are encouraged to

check with schools, pharmacies, their healthcare provider, or wherever is

the most convenient location to be vaccinated.

“It is especially important that certain targeted groups be vaccinated for

their own safety; however, other groups, such as health care and child care

providers, should receive the vaccine to protect others. Here in New

Hampshire, 93% of hospital healthcare workers were vaccinated last year.”

While everyone should get a flu vaccine this season, it is especially

important for some people to get vaccinated for their own safety, including

the following groups:

· Children aged 6 months through 4 years of age

· Pregnant women

· Adults 65 years of age or older

· People who are immunosuppressed

· People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, including

asthma, heart disease, diabetes, or chronic lung disease

People who live with or care for those at high risk of flu complications

should also be vaccinated including:

· Health care workers

· Household contacts of persons at high risk of complications from the


· Household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children younger

than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)

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

Immunization Program at 1-800-852-3345 x 4482 or 603-271-4482 or the Bureau

of Infectious Disease Control at 1-800-852-3345 x 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 .