To protect the family's privacy, no further information regarding this child will be released, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said.
"We extend our deepest sympathies to this child's family," said State Epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore. "These personal losses are also a reminder for all of us that flu can be a serious illness. We want to encourage people to protect themselves and others by getting their annual flu shot."
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.
Twenty adult flu-associated deaths have already been reported in North Carolina during the current flu season, with 14 of those being in people older than 65 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 27 pediatric flu deaths had been reported from other states as of Jan. 4.
The 21 flu deaths through Jan. 4 this year is in line with recent flu death numbers.
- Through Jan 5, 2019 North Carolina had 21 flu deaths. The season ended with 203 reported deaths.
- Through Jan 6 2018 North Carolina had 36 flu deaths. The season ended with 391 reported deaths.
- Through Jan 7 2017 North Carolina had 11 flu deaths. The season ended with 218 reported deaths.
- Through Jan 2 2016 North Carolina had 0 flu deaths. The season ended with 58 reported deaths.
- Through Jan 3 2015 North Carolina had 67 flu deaths. The season ended with 218 reported deaths.
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," Dr. Moore said. "There is still time to protect yourself and your loved ones this flu season."
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