Health department confirms first North Carolina flu death of 2018-2019 season

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Officials in North Carolina have confirmed the state's first flu death of the 2018-2019 season.

Two flu-related deaths were reported in North Carolina previously, but since those deaths may have been caused by other contributing factors, they are not included in the official state report.

The department of health defines a flu-related death as: a death resulting from a clinically compatible illness that was confirmed to be influenza by an appropriate laboratory or rapid diagnostic test with no period of complete recovery between the illness and death.

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The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services' Division of Public Health said the death was of an adult in the central part of the state.

In North Carolina, 391 flu deaths were reported during the 2017-2018 flu season -- the most reported during a flu season since adult flu deaths became reportable in the state in 2009.

Of those 391 deaths, 290 were people age 65 and older and seven were children under the age of 18.

Officials are already reporting that influenza cases are higher than this time last year.

The CDC recommends vaccination against the flu for everyone 6 months and older.

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