Officials promote flu shot ahead of peak flu season

Last flu season, flu killed 30 adults and one child in New Mexico

Associated Press
Nurse B.K. Morris gives a flu shot to Winifred Quinn during a press event on the flu vaccine Sept. 17, 2015, at the National Press Club in Washington.

ALBUQUERQUE —Health officials are urging New Mexico residents to get the flu shot as flu cases are on the rise.

Based on the rising number of clinic visits and hospital admissions for flu-like symptoms, health officials believe flu season will peak in New Mexico in the coming weeks, The Albuquerque Journal reported.

The state tracks the number of patients hospitalized for the flu in seven New Mexico counties. Between Jan. 8 and Jan. 14, about 40 people were hospitalized for flu, about twice the number reported in the previous week. No flu deaths have been reported this season in New Mexico.

During the 2015-2016 flu season, flu killed 30 adults and one child in New Mexico.

On average each year, flu kills 36,000 and hospitalizes 200,000 in the U.S.

A sign on Sept. 16, 2014, tells customers they can get a flu shot in a Walgreen store is seen in Indianapolis.

University of New Mexico pediatrician Dr. Randall Knott said flu season runs October through May but typically peaks in February, making this year’s spike in cases right on schedule.

"I think that we will be submerged in flu in the next two or three weeks," Knott, a member of the New Mexico Immunization Coalition said.

The most prevalent flu strain this year is an H3N2 virus, which most severely affects people 65 and older and young children, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. This year’s flu vaccine is a perfect match for the virus.

"If there was ever a season when you want to get a flu vaccine, this is it, because the vaccine is a perfect match," Knott said.