Local News

NC flu deaths spike, but cases keep declining

Posted January 17, 2013

— Nine North Carolina residents died of influenza last week in what is the deadliest week so far this season for the illness in the state, public health officials said Thursday.

Still, the number of people visiting physician offices, hospital emergency rooms and local health departments across North Carolina with flu-like symptoms continues to drop. Only 3.8 percent of the patients reported flu-like illnesses, down from 5.4 percent the previous week and 9.1 percent two weeks ago.

In addition to the nine deaths last week, five earlier deaths have also been linked to the flu, bringing the total number of flu-related fatalities this season to 31. Twenty-eight of those deaths involved people age 50 or older.

On average, about 24,000 Americans die each flu season, according to the CDC.

Flu usually doesn't blanket the country until late January or February, but it is already widespread in more than 40 states, including North Carolina.

The early onslaught has resulted in a spike in hospitalizations, prompting hospitals to take steps to deal with the influx and protect other patients from getting sick, including restricting visits from children, requiring family members to wear masks, and banning anyone with flu symptoms from maternity wards.

WakeMed, Duke University Health System hospitals and Cape Fear Valley Medical Center are among the hospitals that now prohibit people younger than 18 from visiting patients.

More than 128 million doses of flu vaccine have been distributed nationwide, which is nearly 95 percent of the amount that manufacturers planned to make this year, officials said.

6 Comments

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  • toocutefb Jan 17, 6:21 p.m.

    People need to stay home and not go out with the symptoms, I had to go to er last for another reason, NOT FLU, and they had people all over the waiting rooms throwing up and laying around everywhere. they need to be wiping down these waiting areas. sat for hrs and not one person came to clean the waiting rooms.

  • Hans Jan 17, 6:03 p.m.

    Ever notice how flu, flu-like illness and flu-like symptoms all seem to be synonymous these days? Every cough, sniffle or fever is always chalked up to the "flu". Get you shot!

  • saywhat37 Jan 17, 5:09 p.m.

    Staying at home when you get sick and keep your kids at home when they get, would help!

  • busyb97 Jan 17, 4:16 p.m.

    I honestly wonder of the flu vaccine isnt partly to blame for creating "bigger badder bugs".... A super bug of sorts. They know this happens. As the virus changes over time, and people have different strains, etc..... Who knows.

  • Uhavenoclu Jan 17, 4:01 p.m.

    They keep declining because they are dieing.

  • smcallah Jan 17, 3:38 p.m.

    31 deaths from the flu? That is preposterous. Those deaths are completely avoidable.

    We need to have people register their noses and hands and present us their hand soap license. A handshake ban should be immediately implemented. You may no longer have contact with more than 10 people per day.

    How can we let this stand?