Widespread flu activity continues in North Carolina. Seventeen more people have died from the flu, the fifth straight week in which more than 10 people have died from the virus.
The death toll for the 2017-18 season is now at 165. Of that total, 132 have died in the last five weeks. According to the North Carolina Influenza Surveillance Summary, more than 10 percent of outpatient visits are due to influenza-like illness. Hospital-based Public Health Epidemiologists reported over 1,400 positive influenza results out of nearly 4,200 samples tested. There were no pediatric deaths in the latest report issued Thursday by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
State Epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore said in a news release that the vaccine has reduced the risk of getting sick from the flu and having to go to the doctor by about a third. The vaccine is approximately 36 percent effective this season and 59 percent effective for children 6 months to 8 years old. People at higher risk of complications, like older adults, young children, pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions may be more protected by getting the vaccine. It can also make the illness milder in the event someone who was vaccinated does get the flu.