Local News

Child is first NC flu-related death of season

Posted October 9, 2014 12:04 p.m. EDT
Updated October 9, 2014 12:20 p.m. EDT

— An elementary school student in the Triangle is the first person in North Carolina to die of complications from the flu during the 2014-2015 season, state health officials said Thursday.

The state Department of Health and Human Services said the child – whose name, gender, age and hometown were not released for privacy reason – had underlying medical conditions.

“We extend our thoughts and prayers to the family on their loss,” Dr. Robin Cummings, the state’s health director, said in a statement. “We hope that making people aware of this tragic case will encourage preventative measures and remind everyone that it is not too early to be vaccinated. We are very early in the flu season, and we expect to see flu activity increase in the coming weeks and months.”

Flu shots are encouraged, especially for populations most at-risk from serious illness, including young children, the elderly or those with chronic health conditions.

"Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death," Cummings said. "They not only help protect vaccinated individuals, but they also help protect the entire community by reducing and preventing the spread of infectious diseases."

Health officials also advise residents to stay home if they are sick or until 24 hours after a fever has subsided, vigorously and frequently wash hands using soap and cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue.

The flu season runs from October to May. Last season, 107 people in the state died from influenza.

Visit the state’s website for more information, including where to obtain a flu shot.