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First Influenza Positive Test Result in New Hampshire at State Public Health Lab Announced
New Hampshire Residents Encouraged to Get a Seasonal Flu Shot
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Bureau of Infectious Disease Control
Publish Date:
September 28, 2016

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has announced the first positive influenza test result of the 2016–17 influenza season. The positive sample was identified by the State Public Health Laboratories (PHL) from an adult from Rockingham County.

With the influenza virus circulating in the State, DHHS encourages 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 for complications.

“With influenza already beginning to circulate in our communities, we recommend that individuals 6 months of age and older get the flu vaccine,” said Dr. Benjamin Chan, New Hampshire State Epidemiologist. “It is difficult to predict how a flu season will progress, but the flu vaccine is safe and offers people the best protection to avoid illness and medical complications of influenza virus infection.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 25,000 people in the United States die each year from influenza, and 966,000 medical visits and 67,000 hospitalizations were prevented last year by the vaccine. Last flu season in the New Hampshire, 19 influenza-related deaths were identified based on review of death certificate records.

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

  • Children aged 6 months through 4 years of age
  • Pregnant women
  • Adults 50 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 (in New Hampshire, 93.7% of hospital healthcare workers were vaccinated in 2015)
  • 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)

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 flu season usually lasts from October through May, so CDC and DHHS recommend that everyone who is at least six months of age be vaccinated by the end of October. Residents are encouraged to check with schools, pharmacies, their healthcare provider, or wherever is the most convenient location 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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New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
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