Three fatal cases of the flu confirmed in NC - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Three fatal cases of the flu confirmed in NC

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Public health officials say the number of cases of flu in NC have been low so far, but are beginning to trend upward. Public health officials say the number of cases of flu in NC have been low so far, but are beginning to trend upward.

NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) – Three deaths in North Carolina have been linked to infection with seasonal influenza, according to the NC Department of Health and Human Services.

According to the report, the patients were from all three major regions of the state: Eastern, NC, the Triad region and the Charlotte area.

DHHS confirms all three patients were middle aged adults who were at increased risk due to underlying medical conditions.

"We extend our deepest sympathy to all of the families on their loss," said Acting State Health Director Robin Gary Cummings, M.D. "We hope that these tragic cases will help alert other people to the risks associated with contracting flu."

Public health officials say the number of cases of flu in NC have been low so far, but are beginning to trend upward.

According to health experts, a flu vaccination is the most effective way to fight the illness. It takes about two weeks after the vaccination for antibodies to develop to protect against the virus, so it's important to get vaccinated early.

"Anyone in a high risk group who gets the flu should see a doctor right away so they can receive treatment with an antiviral drug," Cummings said. "Early treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between a mild illness and a very serious illness."

In addition to vaccination, DHHS encourages everyone to use personal precautions to protect against the spread of flu and other viruses:

Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then discard the tissue promptly.

Wash hands frequently, preferably with soap and water or an approved hand sanitizer.

Stay home when you are sick until you are fever free for at least 24 hours.

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