North Carolina reports first flu death of season

(c) WTVD

January 6, 2011 9:12:43 PM PST
State health officials said Thursday that a 15-year-old is the first person in North Carolina to die of complications from an influenza infection this flu season.

A news release from State Health Director Jeff Engle did not say where the teen lived or give his/her sex - citing privacy concerns.

"The death of this healthy young person is a tragic reminder of the potentially devastating effects flu can have on people at any age," said Engel. "Most flu infections can be prevented by getting the vaccine. Flu vaccine is readily available and affordable this year, and is the single most effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones."

State health officials say the teen did not get vaccinated.

Engle said a flu vaccine is recommended for anyone over 6-months-old. It is particularly important for people at high risk of complications, including pregnant women, people with chronic diseases, very young children and the elderly.

This year’s vaccine protects against three strains of influenza, including H1N1.

For more information about flu and to find a flu vaccine clinic near you, visit

"The flu is actually one of the biggest threats to our health," said Dr. Christopher Chao with Rex Express Care of Cary. "One of the biggest myths is that the flu only strikes those who are in poor health, infants or the elderly but the truth is the flu can cause serious illness for anyone, regardless of their health."

Officials say the flu virus is circulating in our state.

"Every year it's all quiet until flu season hits and then we see a huge surge in the numbers," Chao said. "The best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu vaccine --although the vaccine does take a few days to a few weeks for your body's immune system to rev up and produce the antibodies necessary to ward off the flu."

Health officials say if you do have flu-like symptoms take common sense precautions like staying home and covering your mouth if you sneeze.

If you're considered high-risk or if your symptoms worsen after a few days, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Classifieds | Report A Typo |  Send Tip |  Get Alerts | See Click Fix
Follow @abc11 on Twitter  |  Become a fan on Facebook

Load Comments