Two children among 10 new flu deaths in North Carolina

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Of the new deaths, two are children.

New flu numbers released Thursday report 10 deaths last week - two children, eight adults. This brings the total number of flu deaths for this season to 44.

Officials with the Department of Health & Human Services did not specify where the deaths occurred.

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"It's not just limited to North Carolina," said acting state epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore. "There's a big increase, sort of the whole eastern United States seeing a lot of flu activity right now."

This flu season alone, 40 of the deaths are people older than 18, and the remaining four are younger (one death between the ages of 0-4 and 3 deaths ages 5-17).

North Carolina flu season officially started October 2, 2016.

Doctors encourage people to take the following preventive steps from contracting the flu:

Moore says recent data reported by the CDC indicates the flu vaccine is effective.

"The rough numbers they put out last week show that people who did get the vaccine are about half as likely to get the flu versus people who did not get the flu shot."

According to data provided to ABC11 from WakeMed, recent flu stats are as follows:

  • Week ending February 18 - 273 positive flu tests (out of 1284 flu tests ordered)

  • Week ending February 11 - 175 positive flu tests (out of 897 tests ordered)

  • Week ending February 4 - 115 positive flu tests (out of 712 flu tests ordered)

  • Week ending January 28 - 50 positive flu tests (out of 525 flu tests ordered)

WakeMed also released a statement to ABC11 saying: "While WakeMed has not implemented widespread visitor restrictions this year, we strongly urge all patients, visitors and anyone else with a contagious illness to stay home and avoid visiting our patients."

Moore advises people with the flu or flu-like symptoms to take precaution as well.

"Stay home from work, stay home from school," Moore said, "just be aware there are people out there who are susceptible to infections and we want to make sure everyone is protected."

Moore believes this year's flu season won't be as deadly as the state saw in 2014 and 2015.

Read what restrictions Duke Health is putting in place here.

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