New flu strain could be on its way to New Mexico

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says every state except Hawaii is seeing widespread flu activity.

With the flu season ending in just a few weeks, doctors here in New Mexico say the end may just be the beginning.

While one strain of the flu virus might be slowing down, doctors say another one could be on its way and it’s only a matter of time until it hits New Mexico.

“With that ebb and flow with the Influenza A virus and Influenza B virus, we might see yet another small peak here in the next few weeks,” said Dr. Marth Muller, a pediatric infectious diseases division chief at UNM Hospital             .

Dr. Muller says the flu season started much earlier this year at the UNM Hosptial and says they’re seeing an increase in the number of patients being diagnosed with the flu.

There are three types of flu, but doctors say there are two they are watching closely.

Dr. Muller says so far, doctors are predominantly seeing Influenza A, the virus generally responsible for the large flu epidemics.

She also says doctors are now starting to see the Influenza B virus. Fortunately, type B is typically less harmful.

Overall, Dr. Muller says people are always at risk for a new influenza strain so prevention becomes very important.

That means it’s never too late to get the flu vaccine. If you’ve already gotten your flu shot, she says taking extra precaution can go a long way.

“If we are ill or someone else is ill, we want to stay away from ill people until they are not ill anymore. We want to make sure we are washing our hands, soap and water, hand sanitizer, as often as we can. We also want to make sure that we keep our hands away from our faces; touching eyes, touching mouth, touching nose. Those are good ways to introduce germs, so we want to make sure we don’t do that,” said Dr. Muller.

Dr. Muller and the CDC suggest taking the anti-viral medications that doctors are prescribing if you are diagnosed with the flu.

According to the New Mexico Department of Health, there have been 16 flu-related deaths in the state so far this year.

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