RALEIGH — The number of flu cases in North Carolina dropped for the second week in a row last week, and state health officials remain cautiously optimistic that the flu season has peaked.
Only 3.8 percent of patients seen by medical clinics were reporting flu or flu-like symptoms during the week that ended Jan. 12, down from 5.3 percent the previous week.
Reported deaths from the flu rose significantly, however, to 31 for the season. The number reported a week ago was 17.
Health officials said nine flu-associated deaths occurred during the week ending Jan. 12, and five earlier deaths were reported for the first time.
Twenty-three of the 31 deaths have occurred in people age 65 or older. No flu deaths have been reported in patients under age 18.