State Health Officials Announce First Flu-Associated Death of the 2016-2017 Season

Raleigh, N.C.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting the state's first death from flu for the 2016-2017 flu season. An adult in the eastern region of the state died last week of complications from an influenza infection. (To protect the family's privacy, the person's hometown, county, age and gender are not being released.)

"We know this is a very difficult time for the friends and family and we extend our deepest sympathies," said Acting State Epidemiologist Zack Moore, M.D. "We hope that by people being aware of this unfortunate case we will remind everyone that flu can be a serious disease. We encourage people to protect themselves and their loved ones by getting vaccinated."

The CDC recommends yearly vaccination against the flu for everyone 6 months and older. According to studies cited by the CDC there are several benefits from vaccination, including the following:

  • Protecting people who are at greater risk of getting seriously ill from flu, like older adults, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions (including obesity) and young children;
  • Making illness milder if you do get sick and reducing the risk of more serious outcomes, like hospitalizations and death; and
  • Protecting women during pregnancy and protecting their babies until they are old enough to get vaccinated themselves.

Other precautions you can take to protect against the spread of flu and other viruses include:

  • Staying home when you are sick until you have been fever free for at least 24 hours;
  • Washing your hands frequently, preferably with soap and water; and
  • Covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then discarding the tissue promptly.

Weekly flu reports are released every Thursday during flu season at www.flu.nc.gov.

For more information on flu and to find out where you can get a flu vaccination in your community, visit www.flu.nc.gov.

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The N.C. Division of Public Health Epidemiology, Communicable Disease Branch works with the public, local health departments and other public health agencies, healthcare professionals, educators, businesses, communities and healthcare facilities to protect and improve the health of people in North Carolina through disease detection, tracking, investigation, control, education, prevention and care activities.

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