North Carolina-- Public Health officials in North Carolina said three deaths in the past week are from the flu. Health workers said this is a reminder that the flu remains widespread and people should take precautions to protect themselves from illness.
Since late December, the state has recorded 14 deaths from flu, six of them were children. As in past years, the vast majority of deaths this year have been in individuals who were not vaccinated.
Historically, flu vaccines have been 70 to 90 percent effective against strains that are well matched to the vaccine. More than 95 percent of strains circulating this year are well matched to the vaccine.
According to state influenza surveillance, visits to hospital emergency departments due to flu increased for the fifth week in a row, while outpatient visits declined slightly. A number of hospitals across the state have limited visitors in response to flu concerns. Health officials remain cautious about predicting the end of this year's flu season.
Individuals with underlying health issues, like heart disease, diabetes and respiratory conditions, are most at risk for complications from flu. State health officials are urging health care providers to use antiviral medications as soon as possible in high risk or hospitalized patients who have suspected or confirmed cases of flu.
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WFMY News 2/NCDHH