Local News

Health Officials Report Decline In N.C. Flu Cases

Posted January 3, 2004

— North Carolina health officials say the number of reported flu cases dropped this week to a fifth of what they were at the peak of the disease two weeks ago.

Reporting sites around the state show only 238 cases in the week ending Dec. 27 compared to a high of 1,202 two weeks earlier.

Officials at the Durham Health Department said the rush of people to get the vaccine has dropped recently. A few weeks ago, the lines at the Durham Health Department waited for hours as people scrambled to get the vaccine.

"People are seeing less and less flu in their families and communities and are being less concerned about it," Durham Health Director Brian Letourneau said.

Despite the decline in flu cases in the state, Letourneau wants to remind people that the flu season can last until March and to not let their guard down, which is why Laverne Mattocks brought in her son, Caleb, for a shot.

"I didn't want to take any chances with Caleb. He's relatively healthy, but it's better to be safe than sorry," she said.

Officials said holiday travel has exposed people from different parts of the country to each other, allowing germs to spread. Children have also been out of school, slowing transmission of diseases. Officials also caution that even though you may have had the flu that it is possible to get it again, just a different strain.

Eight children have died from flu-related illness this season in North Carolina. Annually an average of 15 children in the state die from the flu.

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