Health Team

First Flu Case Reported in N.C.

Posted October 17, 2007 11:53 a.m. EDT
Updated October 17, 2007 2:09 p.m. EDT

— A 43-year-old Buncombe County woman has contracted the state's first case of flu this season, state health officials said Wednesday.

"It really is hard to predict what the flu season is going to be like. But this case is a wake-up call to all of us," State Health Director Dr. Leah Devlin said in a statement.

Unlike some previous years, the state has an ample supply of flu vaccine, Devlin said, urging people to get flu shots.

"There really is no excuse for not getting a flu shot," she said.

There are two kinds of influenza that commonly infect humans – the more serious Type A and the less serious Type B.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Jeff Engel said the Buncombe County woman has a Type A strain of flu that has accounted for a large percentage of flu cases in the southern hemisphere during its flu season.

"This year's vaccine is targeted at this particular type of flu," Engel said.

The flu accounts for 36,000 deaths and 200,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. each year.

Health officials recommended the following steps to stop spread of the flu and other respiratory diseases:

  • Cover up when coughing or sneezing
  • Use tissues and throw them away after each use
  • Wash hands often
  • Stay home when experiencing flu symptoms