Local News

State changing how it tracks flu

Posted October 7, 2009 12:25 p.m. EDT

— State and national health officials are changing how they track infection and death during flu season.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, in response to a directive from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will no longer break out different data on seasonal flu and H1N1 flu. Instead, hospitalizations and deaths from any influenza-like illnesses will be counted together.

Reporting of all flu-related deaths is required by a temporary order from the state health director. In previous years, only pediatric flu deaths were reported.

The health department pointed out that the H1N1 virus accounts for 99 percent of all flu currently circulating in the state and the country.

Flu activity is also monitored by running laboratory tests on a sample of patients from across the state each week to determine which types of flu are circulating.