Four more people died of complications from the flu in North Carolina last week, according to the latest numbers from the state Department of Health and Human Services.
It’s the fewest number of flu-related deaths in the state since mid-December and another indication that an unusually deadly flu season continues to wind down.
Since October, 170 people have died from the flu in North Carolina, the highest seasonal toll since the state began tracking it in 2009.
The H2N3 strain of the virus that is the most prevalent this season is particularly hard on the elderly. Of those who have died this season, 142 were age 65 or older. Only two were children, which have been vulnerable in previous flu seasons.
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The season is bad at least in part because the main strain of the virus evolved, making the vaccine substantially less effective than expected.
The season started earlier than normal and peaked at the end of December, according to reports on the number of patients appearing in emergency rooms and clinics with illnesses likely to be flu. Reports of flu-like illness increased slightly last week but remain far below the earlier peaks, according to the state.