Flu deaths in the Carolinas near 300 this flu season

Flu deaths in the Carolinas near 300 this flu season

NORTH CAROLINA (WBTV) - State health officials say 17 more people have died from the flu in North Carolina, the fifth straight week in which more than 10 people have died from the virus.

There were no pediatric deaths in the latest report issued Thursday by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

The death toll for the 2017-18 season is now at 165. Of that total, 132 have died in the last five weeks.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports medical experts say that those who have already caught the flu and fully recovered should get vaccinated if they didn't get their shot. That's because getting sick develops immunity to the strain that infected you, but not to other strains in circulation, said Dave Weber, a professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at the UNC-Chapel Hill.

Multiple flu infections in the same person are rare but not unheard of.

"It would be bad luck but it has happened - based on strains," said Michael Anthony "Tony" Moody, chief medical officer of Duke University's Human Vaccine Institute. "The strains tend not to circulate at the same time. You can catch them back to back to back like that."

Gov. Roy Cooper is urging people to protect themselves against the virus.

"We're in the middle of a nationwide flu epidemic and I'm asking North Carolinians to do their part to stay healthy and stop the flu from spreading," Cooper said in a statement.

State health officials say 22 more people have died from flu in South Carolina in the past week.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control said Wednesday that the latest report shows that 128 people have died from the flu in South Carolina since the season started in October.

DHEC said nearly 18,400 people tested positive for flu between Feb. 4 and Feb. 10. That's down a bit from the previous week.

But the agency said nearly 100,000 people in South Carolina have tested positive for flu since October.

The season traditionally runs from October until May.

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