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Three Influenza Positive Test Results at State Lab
New Hampshire Residents Encouraged to Get a Seasonal Flu Vaccine
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Bureau of Infectious Disease Control
Publish Date:
September 17, 2015

Concord, NH – The annual influenza (flu) season is beginning and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is announcing three positive influenza test results identified by the State Public Health Laboratories (PHL). The positive samples were all from adults, one each from Carroll, Grafton, and Hillsborough Counties. These results mean that the influenza virus is circulating in the community, and DHHS is encouraging all New Hampshire residents 6 months of age and older to be vaccinated against the flu at their earliest convenience, especially those who are at increased risk of complications.

“These positive lab results for influenza in New Hampshire residents is slightly earlier than we typically see but about the same time as last year and the fourth year in a row that we have had to make the announcement in September,” said Marcella Bobinsky, Acting Director of Public Health at DHHS. “Every flu season is different and flu is very unpredictable, but it is important every year to receive the flu vaccine because it is the best defense against the flu, and the vaccine’s protection does not last from season to season.”

Influenza can be a serious disease of the lungs, nose, and throat. The illness is spread from person to person through contact with infected respiratory secretions including by coughing and sneezing. Typical flu symptoms include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and muscle aches. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 25,000 people die each year in the United States due to influenza. Last flu season in New Hampshire, 49 influenza-related deaths were identified based on review of death certificate records. The vaccine itself cannot 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 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, 93.5% of hospital healthcare workers were vaccinated last year.

While everyone 6 months of age or older should get a flu vaccine this season, it is especially important for some people who are at higher risk of medical complications from the flu to get vaccinated for their own safety, including:

  • 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 flu
  • 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.

 
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