A second child has died from complications of the flu in North Carolina, the state Health and Human Services Department announced Friday.
The child died last week. To protect the privacy of their families, the state doesn’t release the age or sex of flu victims. In this case, the child was of elementary-school age and lived in Mecklenberg County, department spokeswoman Alexandra Lefebvre wrote in an emailed statement.
The first child to succumb from complications of the flu this year was a resident of the Triangle area, and died the week ending Oct. 4. As is often the case with people who die from flu complications, that child had underlying conditions that made the child more vulnerable. The latest victim did not, Lefebvre wrote.
The start and end – and severity – of each flu season are hard to predict. The percentages of patients appearing at health care facilities in the state’s two surveillance networks showing symptoms of flu-like illness have risen slightly in the past month.
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But the children’s deaths were about a month apart, and it’s still unclear from data tracked by DHHS, including actual positive tests for flu, whether the season has begun in earnest.
Health officials encourage people to protect themselves and their loved ones by getting the flu vaccination, which is now available. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older receive a flu vaccine, which is available as a nasal spray or in shot form.