Local News

Flu is at highest level in a decade, state says

Posted December 21, 2012
Updated December 28, 2012

— Flu activity across the state is at the highest level recorded in the past decade, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said Friday.

The state has recorded 12 flu deaths since early October. Nine of the deaths were among patients age 65 and older.

Department data also shows that flu-like symptoms accounted for nearly 11 percent of all visits to emergency rooms and 7 percent of visits to outpatient providers across the state last week.

Several hospitals are limiting visitors to try to stop the the spread of the virus. In Fayetteville, Cape Fear Valley Medical Center last week began restricting visits by children younger that 12.

Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Lumberton and FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst announced similar restrictions. At Southeaster, no one under 18 is allowed beyond the first floor.

Officials encouraged residents to take time out of holiday festivities to get a flu shot to help combat outbreaks that have been reported in schools, long-term care facilities and other places.

“It is very unusual for us to see this many deaths so early in the flu season,” said Dr. Laura Gerald, state health director. “This year’s vaccine is well-matched to the strains of flu we are seeing in North Carolina, so we strongly recommend that anyone over 6 months old be vaccinated.”

Gerald reminded residents to stay home when they are sick, wash hands regularly with soap and water, and cover cough and sneezes to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Free flu shots are available from most local health departments and many providers. Visit flu.nc.gov for more information.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • 37 Dec 21, 2012

    You mean flu incidents. Flu itself does not have a particular altitude or elevation.

  • clickhere Dec 21, 2012

    Take Co Q-10 and a vitamin. Seems to work for me and I'm 60 yo.

  • sixnitepkg Dec 21, 2012

    what a load of junk!! the flu shot this year was POORLY matched - I've seen no fewer than a dozen cases where people who got their shot got sick and tested positive for the flu!

    The one thing that should be emphasized by the hospitals is that uncomplicated flu symptoms ie. runny nose, fever, body aches, non productive cough / cough with clear or white phlegm IS NOT AN EMERGENCY and SHOULD NOT COME TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM!! jeeze, people! take some tylenol and motrin, get some cough syrup and STAY HOME... if you want tamiflu call your doctor he can call in a prescription! and Tamiflu is WONDERFUL stuff, most people don't get N/V with it. just have to start it within 48hours of the onset of symptoms (within 24 hours is best) "involvedcitizen", your family member probably took it on an empty stomach, or is one of an exceedingly rare few who have an adverse reaction - don't dissuade others with a single account!

  • sixnitepkg Dec 21, 2012

    Ooops...free $10.00 birth control doesn't prevent anyone from getting the flu.

    Funny, but I don't know a single form of birth control that's as cheap as $10 - birth control pills are anywhere from $60-$100 per month. Nevermind the sexist side, that insurance will cover a pill to get a man up but not to protect a woman from an unwanted pregnancy is just WRONG

    Besides, that's totally off topic

  • Banned4Life Dec 21, 2012

    If you CHOSE not to get a flu shot, you should be turned away at the hospital. We don't need fools clogging up the emergency rooms looking for treatment because of their negligence. OR having to pay for their foolishness with OUR TAX DOLLARS.

  • affirmativediversity Dec 21, 2012

    Good thing we have Obamacare to take care of that...

    Ooops...free $10.00 birth control doesn't prevent anyone from getting the flu.

  • InvolvedCitizen Dec 21, 2012

    The one member of my family that didn't get the flu shot is now recovering from the flu. And don't count on Tamiflu. The vomiting it caused after just one dose only added to the misery. An expensive waste.

  • cyauch Dec 21, 2012

    I'm curious to know how many of the people who have gotten sick and/or died actually got the flu vaccine? If they did, then it's not as effective as advertised. I got mine. Have for the past 5 years, ever since I ended up with pneumonia after being hit hard with the flu. I never want to go through that again.

  • Scubagirl Dec 21, 2012

    Too bad so many are misinformed and don't get flu shots. Got mine, didn't get the flu. Know several who poo pooed the shot and got very sick with the flu......

  • piene2 Dec 21, 2012

    "Flu is at highest level in a decade, state says"

    The preceding is a paid announcement by the medical trades and drug companies.