NC infant dies from flu, DHHS officials say

From staff reportsJanuary 13, 2014 

— The state government has announced that a child has died of the flu for the first time in the current flu season.

An infant died in the eastern region of the state Monday because of influenza-related complications, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

The state is withholding all but the most basic information about the child – including its hometown, county and gender – to protect the family’s privacy, the department said in a release.

The child was too young to receive a flu vaccination, according to the department. But the death, according to State Health Director Robin Gary Cummings, is a reminder of the need for precautions such as flu vaccinations for those old enough.

Flu season begins Oct. 1 through the end of May, typically peaking in January and February. As of last week, state health officials had reported 21 deaths this season because of the disease. Nineteen of the deceased were young or middle-age adults who had “underlying medical conditions,” according to DHHS, while the remaining two flu victims were older than 65.

Besides vaccinations, public health officials recommend washing hands often with soap and water and staying away from people who may have the flu to avoid the illness.

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