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May 10, 2015 11:52 AM

State reports record number of flu deaths in NH this winter


More Granite Staters died of the flu this winter than at any other time on record, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The higher death toll is believed to be related to the severity of this year's strain and a mismatch with this season's vaccine, according to reports in the Nashua Telegraph.

A total of 49 deaths, all of them adults, were related to the flu throughout the state as of late April.

The previous high total for flu-related deaths was 45 during the 2012-13 flu season. The state did not start tracking deaths from influenza until 1999.

The numbers are inexact because the flu isn’t an officially reportable disease, and different providers may use different standards for attributing deaths to the disease, said

But the numbers show that New Hampshire, like the rest of the country, was hit hard this year.

The federal Centers for Disease Control reported that more seniors were hospitalized with influenza nationally during this flu season than at any time over the last 10 years.

New Hampshire also reported more flu outbreaks in institutions, mostly elder-care facilities and schools, this year than during any previous flu season, Daly said. That includes the State Prison in Concord, which stopped visits for a week in January because of a flu outbreak, and the Manchester Veterans Administration office, which stopped visits for a few days in February.

“Years where A-H3 circulates tend to be more severe; it has more severe illness associated with it,” Daly said, referring to the particular strain of flu that hit the country this year.

Contributing to the problem was a mismatch with this season’s flu vaccine. The vaccine targeted three strains of the virus, including the A-H3 strain, but that strain changed during the time the vaccine was being produced.


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