21 new flu deaths reported, bringing NC total to 67 this season

Health officials are already saying this flu season, which started in October, is the most widespread on record and they fear it's only going to get worse.

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The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services released Thursday that North Carolina saw 21 new flu deaths last week, bringing the total to 67 for the season.

The World Health Organization estimates the annual epidemic results in about 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness globally and 290,000 to 650,000 deaths.

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Flu deaths are rising in North Carolina.

So far, the virus has claimed the lives of 31 children including 6-year-old Emily Muth from Cary.

READ MORE: Cary girl, 6, dies days after flu diagnosis

WakeMed has seen 943 positive flu test since January, 195 of which came in over the last four days.

RELATED: How to tell the difference between a cold and the flu

However, officials at WakeMed said they have enough of the vaccine to continue to administer flu shots to those who want them.

Check WakeMed ER wait times

And the push for the vaccine has become even greater because health officials are now concerned over a new ramification of the virus.

A study published Wednesday 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.

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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