New Mexico Department of Health
Our mission is to promote health and wellness, improve health outcomes, and assure safety net services for all people in New Mexico.
Paul Rhien
505-470-2290 Office

First Flu Deaths of the Season

February 6, 2017 - Immunization - Vaccination

Everyone Older than 6 Months Should Get Vaccinated

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) reports the first flu-related deaths of the 2016-2017 season. Three adults have died: two adult men in Rio Arriba and Santa Fe counties, respectively, and an adult woman in Grant County.

“These deaths are a somber reminder that flu can cause serious illness or death, particularly among persons at risk for flu-related complications,” said Department of Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher. “As flu season spreads in New Mexico, it is important to get vaccinated if you haven’t already. The flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your family, especially young children and the elderly.”

Flu activity is now widespread in New Mexico, but activity may not peak for several more weeks. Flu vaccine is available in communities, and the strains covered by the vaccine are a good match with the strains circulating in New Mexico. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New Mexico Department of Health recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older get their flu vaccine.

NMDOH suggests contacting healthcare providers or pharmacies to get vaccinated against both flu AND pneumonia. Pneumococcal vaccine can be given at the same time as flu vaccine to patients who qualify. It is an important additional form of protection because influenza frequently causes types of pneumonia that can be prevented by the pneumococcal vaccine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about whether you need this vaccine as well.

While everyone should get a flu vaccine each flu season, it's especially important that people in the following groups get vaccinated, either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications:

The Department also recommends the following to help prevent catching or spreading flu:

Symptoms of seasonal flu may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, tiredness and/or muscle aches. People who might have flu – particularly if they are in the groups listed above at risk for severe disease and complications – should seek medical care and start antiviral medication as soon as possible.

Antiviral medications for treatment of flu (oseltamivir and zanamivir) are available and can shorten the duration of illness and prevent complications, hospitalization and death. The CDC recommends the use of antivirals as early as possible in any patient with confirmed or suspected flu who is hospitalized or who has severe, complicated or progressive illness. Antivirals are recommended for anyone with influenza symptoms at high risk of complications regardless of flu test results.

For more information about flu, visit the Influenza Vaccinations section of our website.


Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact Paul Rhien at 505-470-2290 (Office) with your questions.


Versión en Español

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Primeras muertes por gripe de la temporada