Health Team

Flu Still Widespread, but Cases Continue to Drop

The number of people with the flu or a flu-like illness dropped for the second week in a row, the Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The high level of influenza cases in North Carolina appears to have peaked in late February and has been declining over the past two weeks, the state Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday.

For the week ending March 8, a selection of health-care providers who report to the state reported that 2.92 percent of patients had influenza-like illness, down from 4.36 percent the prior week and 5.99 percent the week before that.

The flu remains widespread in the state, however, DHHS said.

“We hope this downward trend continues,” state epidemiologist Dr. Jeff Engel said. “The next few weeks will tell the story.”

The state monitors influenza-like illness during the flu season. It defines that as a temperature of 100 degrees or greater and a cough or sore throat.

Seventy-six health-care providers statewide report the number of people they are seeing with these symptoms every week. Based on those reports, public health experts determine how the flu is progressing across the state.

Public health officials have these tips for preventing spread of the flu:

  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Seek medical care if you have flu symptoms. There are prescription drugs that can relieve flu symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you are sick.