Influenza Circulating in New Hampshire 2018-2019

On October 25, 2018, NH DHHS issued a health alert regarding influenza circulating in New Hampshire for the 2018-2019 season.

NH DPHS Health AlertKey Points and Recommendations:

  1. Influenza virus has begun circulating in New Hampshire for the 2018-19 season. Healthcare providers should encourage influenza vaccination for everyone six months of age or older who does not have a medical contraindication. Vaccination is recommended by the end of October, but should be offered throughout the season as long as influenza is circulating.
  2. The updated 2018-2019 influenza immunization recommendations can be reviewed here: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/rr/rr6703a1.htm.
  3. Unlike the last two influenza seasons, the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) is an option this year recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for use in people 2 years through 49 years of age. LAIV should not be used for people with certain conditions, including in pregnant women.
  4. While the ACIP has re-introduced LAIV as an option, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) as the primary choice for all children due to lack of effectiveness data for the new LAIV formulation, and LAIV use for appropriate children who would not otherwise receive a vaccination.
  5. The New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services Immunization Program did not purchase the LAIV formulation this year for distribution to pediatric practices, so availability of LAIV will be more limited in New Hampshire.
  6. There are now three different formulations of IIV recommended for children 6 months through 35 months of age. Care should be taken to administer the appropriate volume which is dependent on the vaccine used.
  7. All pregnant women without a medical contraindication should continue to receive flu vaccine during any trimester of their pregnancy to protect themselves and their babies (note: LAIV should not be used during pregnancy).
  8. Antiviral therapy with neuraminidase inhibitors is recommended for individuals with confirmed or suspected influenza infection that is severe, progressive, results in hospitalization, or occurs in individuals who are at higher risk of complications. Treatment should not be delayed while awaiting test results.
  9. Healthcare providers and facilities should report outbreaks of influenza-like-illness to the NH Division of Public Health Services at 603-271-4496.
  10. Influenza testing can be arranged at the NH Public Health Laboratories (PHL).To acquire influenza specimen collection kits, contact the NH Public Health Laboratories office at 1-800-852-3345 x4605, or 603-271-4605.

Read the full DHHS alert