Swine Flu death toll rising

November 17, 2009 10:06:42 PM PST
Officials' biggest concern is that more children have now died from H1N1 in North Carolina than normally die in a typical flu season.Health officials say seven more people -including a child- have died from the H1N1 virus over the last week, which brings the total number of deaths since late September to 45.

Many say that's the reason parents keep lining up to get their kids vaccinated against H1N1 it's being called the "younger persons flu."

To date five children have died in North Carolina since the pandemic began. Usually one or two children die each year from the seasonal flu.

"A pretty high percentage of kids who've died from pandemic flu have had other conditions such as asthma or neurologic problems but not all," State Epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore said. "There are always a minority of kids who do die with flu without having anything like that identified."

Dr. Moore says the pandemic is starting to slow down. Still, hundreds of people are going to hospitals across North Carolina each week with flu-like symptoms. Other states similar in size are only seeing dozens of patients.

"What we actually track is hospitalizations from influenza-like illness," Moore said."So it's not just for flu but anyone who comes in with fever plus cough or sore throat and has to be admitted to the hospital."

The good news is more vaccines are on the way. The CDC is telling the state that by mid-December there should be enough doses for anyone who wants one.

Durham County is holding a clinic Wednesday afternoon at the armory for kids needing their second dose of the H1N1 shot.

The Wake County Health Department is still waiting to get another shipment. However, some pharmacies and pediatricians have the vaccine available.

Health officials say you should call your doctor or pharmacist first and rely on the county as a last resort.

For more information about where to get flu shots visitwww.flu.nc.gov.

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