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Two Cases of Seasonal Flu Confirmed In North Carolina

Release Date: September 7, 2010
Contact: Julie Henry,  919-707-5053

RALEIGH - The North Carolina Division of Public Health has confirmed two cases of seasonal influenza, the first cases of flu confirmed by the state since last spring.  The cases were diagnosed in two children from Durham County.

“These results remind us that influenza is a year-round problem,” State Public Health Director Jeff Engel said.  “It’s also confirms that it is not too early to get immunized against flu.”

During most flu seasons, 90 percent of deaths from flu occur in the elderly. However, during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, most deaths from flu were among children and young adults. Because both 2009 H1N1 and seasonal flu strains will likely be circulating this year, it is important for people of all ages to be protected. 

“I plan to get my flu vaccination this year,” Gov. Bev Perdue said.  “I urge all North Carolinians to take steps now to protect themselves against the flu.”

This year’s flu vaccine includes protection against three strains of influenza, including H1N1.  For most people, that means only one flu immunization is necessary.  As usual, children under 9 years of age who haven’t been vaccinated against the flu in the past will need two doses of flu vaccine.  

The CDC and the N.C. Division of Public Health recommend that everyone over 6 months of age should get a yearly flu vaccine.  Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated, so those who care for them should be vaccinated instead.   Vaccination is especially important for people at high risk of serious flu complications, including pregnant women, children, seniors and people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart disease.

“Our experience with H1N1 made it clear that getting people immunized early can have a tremendous impact on public health,” Engel said.  “Vaccine is safe and is the most effective way to prevent flu.”

Flu vaccine is plentiful this year and is already widely available in injection and nasal spray forms at physicians’ offices, health departments, and chain and independent pharmacies.
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