Latest Flu Information From NCDHHS:
Flu season in North Carolina has resulted in 90 reported deaths by early this month, and more are anticipated as the virus continues its spread. The following message is from Interim State Health Director Robin Cummings, M.D.:
Influenza activity has been widespread in North Carolina since late November. So far, the predominant virus circulating in North Carolina has been the influenza A (H3N2) virus. This strain is associated with more severe illness and mortality among the elderly.
Approximately two-thirds of H3N2 viruses characterized by CDC so far this season have not been well matched to the vaccine, meaning that vaccine effectiveness against these viruses may be reduced.
Historically, flu activity peaks in North Carolina around late January or February. However, during the past three seasons, and including this current season, we have seen earlier rises in flu activity.
Important factors to note about this season’s intensity are:
- Flu activity has been higher this season than in recent years. Although activity seems to have peaked, flu will still be circulating at high levels in North Carolina over the next several weeks.
- We have seen high numbers of deaths among the elderly and outbreaks in long-term care facilities reported this season. This is expected during seasons like this one in which H3N2 is the predominant strain.
For more details on the flu outbreak, visit www.flu.nc.gov/data.