ECU Doctor: Not Too Late For Flu Shot After 2 NC Flu Deaths

With 2 deaths reported earlier this week, flu season has officially begun in North Carolina.

State officials say 2 adults died in the triad. One person was elderly. Here in the east we've had some close calls. Dr. Keith Ramsey with the ECU Brody School of Medicine says they've had several severe cases but each responded to treatment. He says even though flu season is underway, it's not too late to get a flu shot if you haven't already.

"We figure it's really going to spread around the Christmas holidays when everyone's clustered together. So if you get your flu shot now you'll be protected by then.," said Dr. Ramsey.

State officials say neither of the 2 victims had been vaccinated this year. Last year 9 people died from the flu in our state and about 25,000 died nationwide.

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North Carolina officials say two people in the Triad have died in the state's first deaths of the 2012-2013 flu season.

State Health Director Laura Gerald said Thursday one of the two adults was at higher risk for complications because of advanced age and pre-existing medical conditions. The other had no known risk factors for severe influenza illness. Neither victim had been vaccinated against the contagious illness.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that just under half of North Carolinians were immunized against flu last year. Nine died in the state and about 25,000 nationwide during the last fall-to-spring season ending in May.

Flu vaccine is especially recommended for pregnant women, people with chronic diseases, the very young children, and the elderly.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)