Deming – Luna County in southern New Mexico and Rio Arriba County in northern New Mexico have been chosen for a pilot health program.
The state Department of Health is launching pilot programs in the counties to help raise awareness about how pneumonia and influenza deaths in the state disproportionately hit Hispanics older than age 65.
Goals of the program include increased vaccination rates, better planning, improved health literacy and eventually, fewer older adults dying of pneumonia or influenza.
Luna and Rio Arriba counties have similar pneumonia and influenza death rates.
In Luna County, the total senior citizen population is estimated at 4,816, with 1,326 of them Hispanics.
The county's death rate for Hispanic seniors from 2007 to 2009 was 30 per year. The national rate is just under 15.
Information from: Headlight, http://www.demingheadlight.com
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.