Flu cases fall in N.C.

March 8, 2008 11:29:26 AM PST
The peak of this flu season might be over, according to state health officials.

The latest flu statistics dropped nearly one percent from last week when it reached a season high.

Cary resident Jan Guthrie said, "Within the last three weeks, I've heard about 15 to 20 people who have had it. Friends and family."

This flu season has been one of the worst in the last six years. But health officials say the number of medical visits for flu or flu like symptoms fell in the week ending March 1 to 4.95 percent from the seasonal high of 5.83 percent the week before.

Even though health officials say they are seeing a slight drop in the number of flu cases across the state, they say it's still too early to tell if the season has peaked. Health officials say there needs to be at least two weeks in a row with a decline to make that decision.

WakeMed Emergency Doctor James Palombaro agrees saying, "It appears to have had peaked. I don't see it getting any higher. It might start to be going down but its tough to tell." Palombaro has seen plenty of flu cases this season while rotating at WakeMed's emergency departments.

"This facility [WakeMed's Apex Healthplex] we don't see as many patients as we do down at the Raleigh campus where we see over 300 per day. There's probably at least 15 to 20 percent of those patients with flu symptoms," Palombaro said.

The flu season has also taken a toll on Palombaro's co-workers.

"A lot of the nurses have contracted the flu this year," Palombaro said. "And, so [they] were called out so that made it even more difficult on us."

But, if the flu numbers drop again next week, the difficult season could soon be coming to an end.


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