Local News

Two new flu-related deaths reported in NC

Posted December 4, 2014 12:21 p.m. EST

Flu shots

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

Four people, including two children, have died from the flu during the current season, which began in October. The victims that died last week were both adults, officials said. Their names and information about the circumstances of their deaths have not been released.

The first flu-related death of the 2014-15 season was reported in the first week of October, when an elementary school-age child from the Triangle died from the virus.

Flu shots are encouraged, especially for populations most at-risk from serious illness, including young children, the elderly or those with chronic health conditions.

The flu vaccine may not be very effective this winter, according to U.S. health officials who worry this may lead to more serious illnesses and deaths.

As flu season begins to ramp up, officials say the vaccine does not protect well against the dominant strain seen most commonly so far this year. That strain tends to cause more deaths and hospitalizations, especially in the elderly. CDC officials say the vaccine should still provide some protection, but it won't be as good as if the vaccine strain was a match.

Flu vaccine effectiveness tends to vary from year to year. Last winter, flu vaccine was about 60 percent effective overall, which experts consider good.

The flu season runs from October to May. Last season, 107 people in the state died from influenza.

Visit the state's website for more information, including where to obtain a flu vaccine.