20 new flu deaths reported, bringing NC total to 95 this season

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday that North Carolina saw 20 new flu deaths last week, bringing the total to 95 for the season.

In addition to the weekly report, the state Department of Health and Human Services says seven people who died in previous weeks were found to have had the flu.

For the 2017-18 season, there have been 63 elderly deaths, 25 death of people ages 50 to 64, four from ages 25 to 49 and three from ages 5 to 17. No children were included in the latest death toll.

The department says there were 25 flu-related deaths at the same time last year.

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness, spread by a virus. Young children and the elderly are at greatest risk from flu and its complications. According to DHHS, flu-like illnesses now account for 7 percent of hospital visits across the state.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that chances of a heart attack are increased sixfold during the first seven days after a flu infection.

The study looked at nearly 20,000 cases of flu in Ontario adults age 35 or older.

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Those worried about the flu or feel that might be at risk, should speak with their doctor about getting the flu shot or other preventative measures.

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