State officials report 7 more flu deaths in North Carolina, 20 for the season

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Flu vaccine (WGHP file photo)

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday that there have been seven more flu deaths, raising this season’s total to 20.

Officials announced on Dec. 28 the state’s first child flu death, saying they won’t release the identity gender, hometown or county of the child.

Nine pediatric flu deaths had been reported this season from other states as of Dec. 16, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Up to half of the children who die from flu have no known medical condition that would have put them at higher risk.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the child’s family,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore, in a statement last week. “If anything positive comes from this tragic loss, we hope it will be that people understand that flu is a serious illness. Flu vaccination is the most effective protection against flu, and it’s still not too late to get a flu shot.”

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