CDC: North Carolina seeing widespread flu activity

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Health officials are urging North Carolina residents to get ahead of the illness (WTVD)

North Carolina is one of two states reporting widespread flu activity, according to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control.

The CDC said Maryland is the other state in which at least half of the state's regions are reporting increased influenza-like illnesses or outbreaks.

Health officials in Wake County are urging residents to get vaccinated as cases are now on the rise.

"Widespread means it's ticking up, so when you start seeing that trend going up, if you've not had your vaccine, you know it's one of those things that we highly recommend, because it does take a couple weeks for it to really peak in your system," explained Dr. Sue Lynn Ledford, Wake County Public Health Div. Director.

Ledford said because this year's flu season got off to a late start, it will now coincide with the onset of respiratory viruses that don't have a vaccine and mostly affect children. She encourages parents to get children vaccinated for the flu now, so they won't have to fight off two viruses at the same time down the road.

North Carolina is better off than this time last year, when 26 people had already died from flu-related illness. Ledford said the low case numbers could be directly attributed to a more efficient vaccine.

"The vaccine is a good match this year," she said. "It's hitting the four strains that are out there and when you have a vaccine that hits the same strain as is in the community, generally we have better outcomes."

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