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Four flu-related deaths in New Mexico reported in the last week

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By The Staff

Visits to healthcare providers for influenza-like illness continues to drop, but is still higher that expected for this time of year. This week 3.8 percent of visits to providers were for influenza like illness compared to 5.8 percent last week.  

The Department tracks influenza-like illness, which is defined as fever and either cough and/or sore throat, at 26 clinics throughout the state.

Influenza-like illness is the best indicator of flu activity in the state. H1N1 influenza is still the predominant strain of flu in New Mexico at this time.

All positive flu tests are presumed to be novel H1N1 influenza. The severity of illness due to novel H1N1 influenza has not changed nationally or in New Mexico from the spring.

The Department of Health is conducting an analysis of all H1N1 deaths by race and ethnicity. According to the analysis, American Indian and Alaska Natives are over represented in the deaths. This group represents approximately 10 percent of the populations, but accounts for 20 percent of the deaths. The Department of Health will target this group with vaccination efforts through school-based immunization clinics as more vaccine becomes available.  

The Department of Health is reporting four H1N1-related deaths in the last week in New Mexico. The latest deaths are an infant male from Quay County without chronic medical conditions, a 49 year-old male from Bernalillo County without chronic medical conditions, a 54 year-old female from Curry County with chronic medical conditions, a 74 year-old female from Valencia County with chronic medical conditions.

There have been 40 deaths related to H1N1 influenza in the state.  Information about the other deaths is listed on the Department’s H1N1 website at: www.nmhealth.org/H1N1.

The Department of Health has ordered 334,860 doses of nasal and injectable H1N1 vaccine. Vaccine is arriving in small amounts and is being distributed to providers and public health offices statewide.

The Department of Health is encouraging people in the following current H1N1 vaccination priority groups to get vaccinated as soon as possible: pregnant women, household members/caretakers of infants less than 6 months old, children 6 to 59 months of age, children and adults 5 to 64 years of age with certain chronic health conditions that increase their risk of complications from influenza, and healthcare workers and emergency medical service personnel with direct patient care.

The Department of Health is encouraging people in the current priority group to call their primary healthcare providers first to ask if they are providing the novel H1N1 vaccine. People in the priority groups without insurance or a healthcare provider, or whose provider will not offer the H1N1 vaccine, can get the vaccine from a local public health office.  Call your local public health office first to check the availability of H1N1 vaccine. Public health offices are listed in the phonebook’s blue pages under state government or online at www.nmhealth.org.

So far, there have been 946 hospitalizations related to novel H1N1 influenza this year. This week the Department of Health is reporting 71 new hospitalizations.  

The hospitalizations by county are as follows: Bernalillo County (234), Catron County (2), Chaves County (15), Cibola County (12), Colfax County (21), Curry County (57), Doña Ana County (113), Eddy County (28), Grant County (12), Guadalupe County (1), Lea County (26), Lincoln County (6), Los Alamos County (4), Luna County (13), McKinley County (70), Mora County (1), Otero County (27), Quay (6), Rio Arriba County (19), Roosevelt County (9), San Juan County (56), San Miguel County(6), Sandoval County (40), Santa Fe County (46), Sierra County (11), Socorro County (15), Taos County (21), Torrance County (2), Union County (1), Valencia County (32) and 40 cases where residence has not yet been determined.  

For information, contact the New Mexico H1N1 Toll Free Hotline: 1-877-304-4161,  

DOH H1N1 Website: www.nmhealth.org/H1N1,  Statewide Flu Clinics: www.nmivc.org/cliniclist.php or the National H1N1 Information: www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu.