Fifteen more people died of complications of the flu in North Carolina last week, as a deadly flu season drags on into spring.
Since the season began in early October, flu has killed 156 people in the state, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. The majority – 103 – were people age 65 and older, an indication that the most common strain of the viral disease, Influenza A H2N3, is particularly hard on seniors.
The death toll from flu can vary widely from season to season. In the 2011-2012 season, only 9 people died of flu, compared to 218 two years ago. Last year, flu killed 59 people in North Carolina.
Also last week, the prevalence of flu in North Carolina declined after spiking the week before. A state survey of clinics, hospitals and health departments found that about 4 percent of visits were for flu-like illnesses last week, down from a peak of nearly 8 percent of visits in late February.