Health Team

NC reports highest number of weekly flu deaths this season

Posted January 30, 2014

— State public health officials said Thursday that 11 people died of influenza in North Carolina last week, the highest weekly total this season.

Forty-four people statewide have died of the flu since October, officials said.

Adults ages 25 to 49 continue to be most affected, accounting for 19 deaths in North Carolina, followed by those ages 50 to 64, with 14 deaths. Nine people 65 or older have died of the flu, as has one infant and one child between ages 5 and 17.

Still, the number of visits to hospital emergency rooms and to physician offices and outpatient clinics for flu-like symptoms declined last week, officials said.

High levels of flu activity are expected over the coming weeks as flu season typically peaks during January and February.

The best protection against the flu is a flu shot, which is available for anyone 6 months old or older. It takes at least two weeks to build up a full immunity against the virus.

Hand-washing, coughing into your sleeve and keeping a safe distance from people with flu symptoms are practical ways to help prevent the spread of the flu.


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  • kikinc Feb 6, 2014

    For those commenting about the shoddy reporting, whether someone received a flu shot or not is protected health information. Unless the family of the person who has passed reports that a flu shot was received/not received, that information really can't be made public.

    This year was my first year getting the flu shot. It was mandatory for my job. I've never had the flu, and I feel fine so far this year. My mom has gotten the flu the past 3 years, the first 2 without a flu shot, and this year with a flu shot. Makes me wonder if those who are reporting that they had the "flu" actually had the flu, and not some other respiratory disease. Bronchitis and pneumonia could give the a fever, the chills, a cough, and aches and pains. A quick trip to the doc will tell you definitively. My husband claimed he had the flu. He went to the doc and tests came back negative. He was diagnosed with bronchitis.

  • 68_dodge_polara Jan 31, 2014

    Got the flu shot and still got the flu, even more than 2 weeks later. Getting the shot reduces the risk of getting the flu but by no means will ensure that one doesn't get the flu. It's still certainly worth getting the shot, just have realistic expectations.

  • josephlawrence43 Jan 30, 2014

    Need to back away from this "he got the shot, got the flu and died". Short answer--no, he/she did not catch the flu and die from taking the shot. It takes two weeks for the vaccine to become effective in the system. Those people who became ill and died after taking the shot we all infected with the virus BEFORE they took the shot. In other words, they already had the flu virus in their bodies just lying dormant. The flu shot had nothing to do with it.

  • whatelseisnew Jan 30, 2014

    Yep, be sure to get your flu shots. The medical people need the money, especially when you return with the flu.

  • MB4579 Jan 30, 2014

    View quoted thread

    "Probably" is not the basis for a sound logical conclusion, nor is it scientifically quantifiable.

    Just because the flu shot does not prevent all strains of the flu is not an excuse not to get it. Would you rather nobody get the vaccine and leave us all exposed to the risk of complications and death by the virus? Simply because some will not be sufficiently immunized if they do receive the vaccine?

    That all-or-nothing logic is doing more harm than good.

  • nctorwart Jan 30, 2014

    The people who died probably all got the flu shot and that's why it's not reported. The flu shot targets 3-4 of the most likely strains for that season. How many variants of the flu are there? Hundreds? Thousands? Let's say there are 100 strains. Then there is only a 3-4% chance that the shot will prevent it.

  • MB4579 Jan 30, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Exactly. Vaccines are one of mankind's greatest innovations. To say that there is no "urgency in these death reports" is sad. How many people have to die of an inoculable disease before it becomes "urgent" to you?

    It's like spitting in the face of progress.

  • piratepeople2 Jan 30, 2014

    OG-one death is one too many if there is a vaccine to prevent a disease

  • sinew1 Jan 30, 2014

    NC had 44 deaths 2012-2013 flu season. And yes, those with various health factors are included in the 2013-2014 flu deaths. However, many were healthy young and middle age adults as well. Many of which did not get the flu vaccine. The general public doesn't realize how severe the flu becomes in 24 hrs. It's not an illness to take lightly.

  • carolinaprincess62 Jan 30, 2014

    Come on WRAL, do some investigative reporting. How many of these adults were HEALTHY adults with NO underlying medical issues? That is what I want to know. I've had years I've had the flu shot and years I haven't. Never had the flu (I'll probably get it now just for saying that!)