Nine more people died of complications from the flu in North Carolina last week, according to state officials.
That brings the seasonal death toll from the flu to 137 since early October, making this one of the worst flu seasons in recent memory. The Division of Public Health’s weekly report also says reports of influenza-like illness increased last week, after several weeks of decline.
The most prevalent strain of the influenza virus, H3N2, was expected, and this year’s flu vaccine was formulated to protect against it. But the strain evolved slightly, making the vaccine less effective than hoped, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and that has likely contributed to the high amount of flu activity.
Older adults are generally more vulnerable to the H2N3 strain of the virus; 111 of the people who have died of flu in North Carolina so far – more than 80 percent – were above the age of 64. Only two were children.