Medicine

Officials report 7 more flu deaths in NC; 20 for the season

Officials report 7 more flu deaths in NC; 20 for the season

Health officials are reporting a spike in the number of flu cases across New Mexico in the last few weeks.

The number of flu cases normally peaks here and elsewhere between January and February.

Residents can still get the flu vaccine at hospitals, clinics and most pharmacies.

"The Tucson Medical Center emergency department is now experiencing a 10 percent increase in patient volume over the previous year", said hospital spokesman Jim Marten, when asked about how flu cases were affecting the hospital. In the same time a year ago, 140 cases were reported. The state DHHS said the child was between the ages of 5 and 17.

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Nationally, there have been 12 pediatric deaths from the flu. The predominant strain picked up in lab tests so far is a strain of influenza A known as H3N2. It's never too late for people to get their flu shot since flu season typically lasts from October to April. In the previous season, 219 people died in North Carolina from the flu.

Dr. Christopher Ohl, infectious disease expert at Wake Forest Baptist, said there has been "a significant increase in influenza and influenza-like illness in both adults and children" over the past two weeks.

She also stressed the importance of staying home instead of going into work if you're sick, for your own protection and the protection of others.

The H3N2 strain, which caused one of Australia's worst flu outbreaks past year, can lead to pneumonia and other life-threatening conditions.


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