RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The first child death of the 2019-2020 flu season occurred within the last two weeks, according to the latest flu statitistics released by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
According to the department’s flu report, nine people died between Dec. 29, 2019, and Jan. 4. Of those nine, one was a child between the ages of 5 and 17. The other eight deaths were among those 25 and older.
The child lived in the western part of the state, but officials would not release any further information due to privacy concerns.
“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.”
The season, which began at the end of September 2019, has seen 21 total deaths so far. No children 4 years old or younger have died and no person between the ages of 18 and 24 have died, according to the report.
Aside from the one death in the 5-17 age range, six people total have died between the ages of 25 and 64. The remaining 14 deaths were all people 65 years of age and older.
According to NCDHHS, the flu is considered widespread across the state.
Early treatment with an antiviral drug can also help prevent flu infections from becoming more serious, officials said.
Other precautions you can take to protect against the spread of flu and other viruses include:
Staying home when you are sick until you have been fever-free for at least 24 hours
Washing your hands frequently, preferably with soap and water
Covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then discarding the tissue promptly
Flu season runs through mid-May.
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