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Flu deaths on the rise in Granite State

New Hampshire Union Leader

January 17. 2018 11:41PM

CONCORD — State health officials report the number of flu-related deaths in New Hampshire this season has doubled in the last week.

In the most recent weekly influenza activity report, reporting flu-related activity through Jan. 6, state health reports the number of flu-related deaths in New Hampshire jumped from five to 10. Officials now categorize the outbreak of the disease in the Granite State as “widespread,” a label shared with 49 other states, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDPC). Hawaii remains the lone state where the spread of influenza is still categorized as “regional,” according to the CDC.

Ten adult influenza-related deaths have been identified so far this influenza season in New Hampshire. According to the State’s Department of Health and Human Services, the deceased adults lived in Belknap, Cheshire, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, and Strafford counties. No influenza-related child deaths have been reported in New Hampshire as of Jan. 6, the most recent data available from the state.

CDC officials report widespread flu activity from this season’s outbreak in all of the continental U.S. — something that hasn’t happened in the CDC’s 13 years of tracking the spread of influenza via particular surveillance. The current flu season started earlier than in the past and is likely peaking, according to a release.

Many of the confirmed flu cases involve a strain known as H3N2, which health officials warn doesn’t respond well to flu vaccinations, though they still encourage people to get flu shots. The strain is considered especially dangerous to young children and older adults over age 65.

Flu symptoms include fever, cough, body aches, headaches and fatigue. If a child has trouble breathing, has bluish skin, or is not waking up or interacting, get immediate medical attention. In each of the past several flu seasons, at least 100 children have died, according to CDC data.

Immediate medical attention is also advised if an adult has difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, has sudden dizziness or confusion, is severely or persistently vomiting, or improves but then worsens.

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