Department of Health releases H1N1 stats

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By Special to the Monitor

SANTA FE — A recent analysis of death and hospitalization data due to H1N1 in New Mexico found that children younger than age 5 have the highest rate of hospitalizations, and people age 50 to 64 have the highest death rate.

The New Mexico Department of Health’s Epidemiology and Response Division analyzed data collected since April 2009.

 New Mexico’s overall rate of H1N1 hospitalizations is 50.3 per 100,000 population. The rate for children younger than age 5 is 135.5, a rate more than 2.5 times higher than any other age group in New Mexico and twice the national estimate.

Children and young adults 5-24 had the second highest rate in New Mexico at 50.6 per 100,000 people.

New Mexico’s overall death rate due to H1N1 is 2.6 per 100,000 people. The highest death rate in New Mexico is 5.3 among people 50 to 64 years followed by 3.1 for people age 65 and older. Children younger than age 5 and adults 25 to 49 had a death rate of two per 100,000 individuals.

“While H1N1 disease has been declining, New Mexicans are hospitalized every week, and people continue to die from influenza complications,” said Health Secretary Alfredo Vigil, MD.  “You should still take this disease seriously, and the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself.”

Since August 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 243 deaths in children birth through 17, which is a death rate of 0.33 per 100,000 people.  

In the same time period, there have been nine pediatric deaths in New Mexico. The New Mexico pediatric death rate of 1.8 is 5.4 times higher than the U.S. pediatric death rate.

Vigil reminds parents that children who are younger than 10 need two doses of H1N1 vaccine to be fully protected from the disease. Doses should be given four weeks apart.

“It is not too late to be vaccinated,” Vigil said. “At this time, we cannot say for sure whether there will be another wave of influenza activity. A third wave has occurred during previous pandemics.”

The Department of Health has distributed about 710,000 doses of H1N1 vaccine to providers and public health offices statewide. People should call their primary healthcare providers first to ask if they are providing the H1N1 vaccine. People without insurance or a healthcare provider, can get the vaccine from a local public health office. Call the local public health office first to check the availability of H1N1 vaccine.

To stay healthy, the department recommends covering your cough and your sneeze with a tissue or your arm, washing your hands often and staying away from ill people as much as possible.  

There have been 52 deaths and 1,007 hospitalizations related to H1N1 in New Mexico since April 2009.  

For more information about H1N1, call New Mexico H1N1 Toll Free Hotline: 1-877-304-4161 or access www.nmhealth.org/H1N1.