NORTH CAROLINA: DHHS reports first flu death of 2014 - WNCN: News, Weather

Eastern NC child becomes 1st in state to die from flu in 2014

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DHHS says the flu vaccination is the most effective treatment against the flu. DHHS says the flu vaccination is the most effective treatment against the flu.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

A child in Eastern North Carolina has died from the flu, the Department of Health and Human Services said Monday. The child's death marks the state's first flu-related fatality in 2014.

The infant died Jan. 13 because of complications associated with influenza. The infant was too young to receive a vaccination, DHHS said.

"Losing a child is one of the greatest challenges a person will ever face and our hearts go out to the child's family," said State Health Director Robin Gary Cummings. "We hope that if there is any positive to come out of this tragedy it will be that our residents will understand how serious the flu can be and take precautions, including getting a flu vaccination."

Last week, DHHS health officials reported 21 deaths associated with seasonal influenza in the season that began in October. Of those 21 deaths, 19 were young and middle-aged adults, most of whom had underlying medical conditions.  

There were 59 flu deaths in the flu season that ran from October 2012 to May 2013.

Flu activity has been widespread in North Carolina since mid-December. High levels of flu activity are expected to continue over the coming weeks, as flu season typically peaks during January and February.

The flu vaccine is widely available and protects against the strains of flu circulating this year, including H1N1, the most common flu strain so far this year.

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