Michael F. Easley
Governor

The Great Seal of the State of North Carolina Dempsey Benton
Secretary

North Carolina
Department of Health and Human Services

For Release: IMMEDIATE
Date: October 17, 2007

  Contact: Debbie Crane

State Confirms Season’s First Flu Case:

People Urged to Get Flu Shots

RALEIGH – N.C. State Health Director Dr. Leah Devlin today said that the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health has confirmed the state’s first case of flu this season. The disease was diagnosed in a 43-year-old Buncombe County woman.

“It really is hard to predict what the flu season is going to be like,” said Dr. Devlin.  “But, this case is a wake up call to all of us. Get your flu shots.”

Devlin noted that unlike some past years, there is plenty of flu vaccine available across North Carolina and the country. “There really is no excuse for not getting a flu shot,” she said. “Check with your health care provider or your local public health department, there’s plenty of vaccine to go around.”

There are two kinds of influenza that commonly infect humans – Type B and Type A. Influenza B is generally less serious than Influenza A. State Epidemiologist Dr. Jeff Engel said the strain of flu responsible for North Carolina’s first case of the season is Type A, which has accounted for a large percentage of flu cases in the southern hemisphere during its flu season. 

 “This year’s vaccine is targeted at this particular type of flu,” Dr. Engel explained.  Engel also noted that Type A tends to be more serious than Type B flu, but he said both can make people very sick. “You know when you’ve been hit with the flu; you are very sick and feel as if you’ve been hit by the proverbial train,” he said, noting that the flu accounts for 36,000 deaths and 200,000 hospitalizations in the United States annually.

You can take other actions to stop spread of the flu and other respiratory diseases:

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Use tissues and throw them away after each use.
  • Wash hands often.
  • If you have flu symptoms, stay home.

 

###

Public Affairs Office
101 Blair Drive, Raleigh, NC 27603
(919)733-9190
FAX (919)733-7447

Debbie Crane
Director