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CDC Urges Continued Vaccination Against H1N1

Release Date: March 30, 2010
Contact: Julie Henry, 919-707-5053

RALEIGH The Centers for Disease Control has put a renewed focus on H1N1 activity in southeastern states after Georgia public health officials reported a dramatic increase in hospitalizations due to complications from flu. While North Carolina has not experienced a similar increase, state health officials say the virus is still circulating and considered a threat, especially to those with chronic illnesses such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease and diabetes.

 “Of the 98 deaths reported from H1N1 since April 2009, 85 percent have been in people under the age of 65,” said Megan Davies, State Epidemiologist. “And four out of five of those people had some kind of underlying medical condition that put them at high risk for complications.”

 According to the CDC, 11,000 of the 12,000 deaths attributed to H1N1 nationwide have been in people under 65. Federal officials say as the end of traditional flu season nears, the concern is not as much over a widespread outbreak of disease as on the threat to high-risk individuals. 

 “None of the people in our state who have died from H1N1 had been vaccinated against it,” said Davies. “We have plenty of vaccine still available, and we strongly encourage anyone who is at risk of complications to protect themselves by being vaccinated.”

 Flu vaccine is available at no charge to the patient at any county health department. For information on H1N1 vaccine availability as well as the latest statistics on flu incidence rates, visit flu.nc.gov.