Local News

First case of flu reported in N.C.

Posted December 19, 2008 3:39 p.m. EST
Updated December 19, 2008 4:50 p.m. EST

— State public health officials have confirmed North Carolina’s first case of flu this season.

The disease was diagnosed in a 38-year-old Wake County woman, who is recovering at home, officials said.

“We know the flu season has begun here in North Carolina, so if you haven’t been vaccinated, it’s time to do so. It’s not too late,” the state health director, Dr. Leah Devlin, said in a statement. “Flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu.”

The supply of flu vaccine is plentiful this year, Devlin said, predicting a record number of doses available.

“This year’s flu vaccine is a good match to the strains of flu virus circulating in the country so far,” Dr. Jeff Engel, state epidemiologist, said in the statement.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded its recommendations regarding flu vaccine, advising all children from 6 months through 18 years be vaccinated against the flu. Adults 50 and older, people with certain chronic medical conditions like asthma, household contacts of people with chronic illnesses, pregnant women and health care workers also are encouraged to get vaccinated.

“Increased rates of vaccination could reduce the number of people who suffer from or die from the flu,” Engel said, noting that the flu accounts for 36,000 deaths and 200,000 hospitalizations nationwide each year.