By Meghan Foley
Sentinel Staff

If there was any doubt that flu season is upon us, recent reports of an outbreak of the illness at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon should settle that.

And as that hospital takes numerous steps to mitigate the spread of influenza among its patients and staff, Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene is doing what it can to prevent an outbreak there, a hospital official said Wednesday. 

Anne M. Nolan, a registered nurse and infections preventionist at the Keene hospital, said Wednesday that the hospital is seeing more flu cases this year than it did last year, but not as much as in 2013.

The hospital is seeing nothing close to the outbreak level, and health care providers hope it will stay that way through the influenza season, which last year went as late as June, she said.

The problem influenza strain this year is H3N2, which is the one the federal  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said say isn't an exact match to what was included in the flu vaccine, she said.

Not everyone who comes to the hospital with flu-like symptoms is tested for the illness because the testing is expensive, Nolan said.

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