North Carolina reports first child flu death of season

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed the first child death of the current flu season.

Public health experts recommend annual vaccinations to help prevent becoming sick from the flu. (NCDHHS photo)

Public health experts recommend annual vaccinations to help prevent becoming sick from the flu. (NCDHHS photo)

State Health Director Robin Gary Cummings said the victim is an infant from the eastern region of the state who died Jan. 13.

The report brings to 22 the total number of deaths associated with seasonal influenza in North Carolina. Aside from the infant who died yesterday, two of the the 22 were persons over 65, and the remaining 19 were young and middle-aged adults, most of whom were said to have had underlying medical conditions.

Cummings urged everyone to take note of “how serious the flu can be and take precautions, including getting a flu vaccination.”

The department said flu activity in the state has been widespread since mid-December, and that high levels of flu activity are expected to continued over the coming weeks, as flu season typically peaks during January and February.

Flu vaccine is available from family physicians, some retail pharmacies, and county health departments.

In addition to the vaccine, public health experts recommend taking additional precautions against illness, including washing hands often with soap and water, and staying away from others who may have the flu.

More information is available from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

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