North Carolina health officials say it's the worst flu season in a decade, with 12 flu-related deaths reported so far.
State Health Director Laura Gerald says it's unusual to see so many deaths this early in the season. She strongly encourages anyone over six months old to get a flu vaccination.
Flu outbreaks are being reported in schools and long-term care facilities statewide. Officials say the flu is especially dangerous for pregnant women, people with chronic diseases, very young children and the elderly.
Nine of the 12 people who died were older than 64. The other three were between 24 and 64 years old.
It takes about two weeks for people to develop immunity after getting the vaccination.