influenza

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Flu season has begun in New Hampshire.

The Department of Health and Human Services says three adults tested positive for influenza, one each in Carroll, Grafton and Hillsborough counties.

It’s the fourth year in a row the state has found flu cases before the season’s traditional start date of October.

 

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services says there were 49 adult deaths related to the flu this season, the highest total since it began keeping track in 1999.

The Nashua Telegraph reports that the previous high total for flu-related deaths was 45 during the 2012-2103 season, but the numbers are inexact because the flu isn't an official reportable disease and different health care providers may use different standards for attributing deaths to the disease.

The influenza season started much earlier this year and the strain is considered more severe.  Many worry how much of a toll this will take. In New Hampshire, at least twenty people have died from the flu already. We’ll talk with health experts about how this season compares to others and how health providers, schools, and individuals are coping. 

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This week, New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services identified the season’s first case of influenza. Beth Daly, chief of infectious disease surveillance at DHHS, is encouraging Granite Staters to get vaccinated.

"It’s not too early to be vaccinated," Daly says, "and the flu vaccine this year does contain different strains of the virus, so it’s important that people be vaccinated this year even if they were vaccinated last year as well."  

According to the Centers for Disease Control, flu season is usually at its peak by February…but not this year.

Might it have something to do with all the warm weather?

State health officials say it’s not likely.

But Doctor Jodie Dion Odom, Deputy State Epidemiologist, says it is unusual that the influenza virus this year is as mild as the winter.