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State reports 26 new flu-related deaths

Posted January 15, 2015
Updated January 16, 2015

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— Twenty-six people in North Carolina died from influenza last week, bringing the total number of flu-related deaths in the state to 90 since the season began in October.

The data released Thursday by the state Department of Health and Human Services reflects a decrease in the number of deaths compared with a week earlier, when 38 people died from the virus.

Adults accounted for all of the deaths reported during the week ending Jan. 10. The gender and specific ages of the patients were not released.

Of the 23 samples submitted for testing last week, 15 were positive for flu, according to the data.

The decline may reflect what Rex Hospital emergency physician Dr. David Messerly has seen.

"We sort of saw a very quick ramp up and sort of a plateau, and it seems like maybe, if anything, this may be tailing off," he said.

People still come in with flu symptoms, but Messerly said it's not as dominant of a problem as it was.

"We're still quite busy, but I'm not convinced it's all influenza busy," he said. "I think this may be now just more of our traditional seasonal winter kind of busy."

Last year, 107 people in North Carolina died from flu during the season, which lasts from October to May.

Health officials earlier this month held a news conference to raise concerns about a spike in the number of flu deaths as the annual season reaches its peak. They urged residents to be extra-vigilant against the spread of the virus.

"In terms of intensity, the flu activity has been more intense as measured by visits to emergency departments," Dr. Megan Davies, state epidemiologist, said last week.

One reason for the spike in deaths, officials said, is that a specific strain of flu – H3N2, a type of Influenza A – is not well-matched to the flu vaccine for this season. Despite that, officials still recommend the flu vaccine for those who have not received it.
 

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  • heard-it-all-before Jan 16, 2015

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    great idea. lets just do flu vaccines all year. different strand every month. maybe that's where Gov is taking this overblown story anyway.

  • theliberadicator Jan 16, 2015

    It has now been reported, on this station I might add, that these people are dying, in part, because those in charge got the shot protection formula incorrect this year.

    Those in charge need to be held accountable for each and every death.

    The makers of Tamiflu should also be held accountable. Did they not know it was flu season when they shorted their supply?

    It's time all those getting rich off of the average citizen be held accountable for all they do.

    If that's too much to ask then they don't need to be in charge of making life and death decisions for anyone.

  • Betty Lanier Jan 16, 2015
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    and also, your boss / company still expects you to get your job done, sick or not.

    As for sick time, - if you are one of the lucky ones that has it, if you take to much at one time - even with a Doctor's note - you then can be at risk for being fired, laid off, or disciplined.

  • Jackson Smith Jan 15, 2015
    user avatar

    The vaccine is either tri or quadravalent. That means covering 3 or 4 strains. The government must guess as to what is included in the vaccine. They missed it this year. The strain that is causing the Flu is not more potent, just not prevented as well as other strains. I wonder how many of those that died were elderly or had other complicating factors. We will never know because that would reduce the fear that is being created by the media.

  • gregbscis Jan 15, 2015

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    And it is taking longer to get over these stronger strains in which people only have 15 days a year sick/leave time. And some times, it is manager and peer pressure to return sooner.

  • landormariluz2002 Jan 15, 2015

    1. Any chronic illness (Diabetes, Hypertension, Asthma) make it harder for your body and recover from "normal" illnesses like the flu or cold. Autoimmune disorders (or the medications used to treat them), can make it even more difficult.

    2. I wish people who had the flu would take Tylenol (aceteminophen) or Motrin (advil, ibuprofen) to treat thier fevers and aches before rushing to the doctor. They will still take good care of you whether you have an active fever or not, I promise. Adults can actually start to have seizures around 103, so please don't risk a seizure to "prove" how high your fever is.

  • diamonds107 Jan 15, 2015

    Okay, please someone help me understand this: Back in 2009, I was asked by my healthcare provider to get a 2nd flu shot to cover the H1N1 strain of the flu, (considering that I was pregnant at the time) So is it at all possible or that simple to have a 2nd flu vaccine to be created to cover this H2N2 ? Just was curious as to how this works and if further sickness/deaths can be prevented perhaps?

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jan 15, 2015

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    If it's possible for people to do so, I agree. But...

    Problem 1: You're contagious before you have symptoms.

    Problem 2: There are plenty of people who have low-paying jobs and if they don't work for 10+ days (the contagious time of the flu), their family goes hungry...or their heat gets shut off.

  • hollylama Jan 15, 2015

    I think it would be helpful to know what "underlying issues" individuals have that exacerbate flu symptoms. Is it COPD? Asthma? Auto-immune disorders?

    In other words, is there an underlying condition that makes a person more susceptible to flu mortality?

  • justncgirl16 Jan 15, 2015

    Last week's total was 54. This week 26 more. I think that's 80 not 90.

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