11 more people die from the flu, North Carolina health department says

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- As the flu season ramps up in North Carolina, 11 more people have reportedly died from the infection.

NC Department of Health and Human Services updated their weekly flu death number Thursday.

The 11 new flu deaths occurred between Jan. 5 and Jan. 11, the highest number in a single week this flu season.

It brings the total number of flu deaths in the state up to 33. The number of deaths appear relatively in line with previous years.

A spokesperson for Wake Med said doctors have seen more flu cases earlier this season than in previous years, but spikes in late January and early February are common.

Wake Med said their emergency department had 250 positive flu tests last week. A representative for Duke Health said they admitted eight people with serious cases of the flu last week, and they expect that number to continue to rise.

North Carolina has seen more than 200 people die from the flu in four of the last five years.

Last week's flu death's included a child--the first and so far only child to die of the flu in North Carolina this season.

Health officials say getting the flu shot is the best way to prevent serious complications, such as death, from the flu.

Flu shots are widely available at a variety of health care settings. To find a location near you, use the Flu Vaccine Finder at flu.nc.gov.

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Watch the video above to find out what the CDC says about flu prevention, how it spreads and how it could lead to deadly complications.

The CDC estimates that between 12,000 and 79,000 people die from flu infections nationwide each year. Certain groups are at higher risk for serious illness from flu, including children younger than five, pregnant women, people over 65 and those with certain chronic medical conditions, such as heart or lung disease. However, over half of the children who die from flu have no known medical condition that would put them at higher risk.

"Flu vaccination is the most effective protection against flu," State Epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore said. "There is still time to protect yourself and your loved ones this flu season."

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