First influenza cases confirmed

Freedom New Mexico

The flu has arrived in New Mexico.

The New Mexico Department of Health has confirmed the first six cases influenza of the flu season, one of which was a Curry County toddler, according to a press release.

“It’s not to late to get a flu shot. Just because flu season is here, doesn’t mean you’ve missed the boat by any means,” Minnick said.

The cases, which health officials have determined were influenza A and B types, are likely good matches for the 2008-2009 influenza vaccine, the release said.

Among the diagnosed patients were two 35-year-old Bernalillo County females, a 33-year-old female from Taos County and a 2-month old male and 22-year-old male from Sandoval County.

The Curry County patient was a 19-month old female.

The health department monitors influenza lab results from 58 labs and clinics across New Mexico as well as five clinics in Mexico, according to the release.

Symptoms may include body aches, fever, sneezing and coughing.

Persons who are ill should avoid going out in public while sick, he said, cover their mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing and wash their hands frequently

People with compromised immune systems are most vulnerable to influenza and, “should get a flu shot every single year,” Minnick said.

About 36,000 people die in the U.S. each year from influenza, Minnick said.

• For information on where to obtain a vaccination, call the New Mexico Nurse Advice Flu Line at (866) 681-5872 or visit the New Mexico Health Department’s Web site at www.nmhealth.org