Local News

Seven new flu-related deaths reported in NC last week

Posted February 27, 2014 11:29 a.m. EST
Updated February 27, 2014 12:18 p.m. EST

Seven more people died from the flu in North Carolina last week, according to data released Thursday by the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Eighty-one people statewide have died from the flu since October, including one infant and four other children under the age of 18.

Adults ages 25 to 49 continue to be most affected, accounting for 30 deaths in North Carolina, followed by those ages 50 to 64, with 28 deaths. Eighteen people 65 or older have died of the flu.

A year ago, 59 people died from flu-related symptoms during the six-month flu season that runs from early October to mid-May. Adults ages 65 or older accounted for 36 of the 59 deaths in 2012-13, and nobody under 18 died from the flu.

Flu season normally peaks during January and February.

The best protection against the flu is a flu shot, which is available for anyone 6 months old or older. It takes at least two weeks to build up a full immunity against the virus.

DHHS officials said at least 55 of the people who have died this flu season hadn't been vaccinated, and at least 12 had received a flu shot. Public health officials said they don't know whether the remaining 14 had been vaccinated.

Hand-washing, coughing into your sleeve and keeping a safe distance from people with flu symptoms are practical ways to help prevent the spread of the flu.