The death toll from flu in North Carolina this season is the highest since the state began tracking flu-related deaths in 2009.
Since the season started in October, 219 people have died of complications of the flu, according to the final weekly report from the state Department of Health and Human Services released Thursday. That’s one more death than the previous most deadly season in 2014-2015.
The season peaked in late February and early March, when 84 people died of the flu in a three-week period. The last three deaths occurred in the week ending May 6.
A large majority of the deaths – more than 150 – occurred among people age 65 or older, a reflection that the most common strain of the virus this season – Influenza A H3N2 – tended to affect older people more severely. Seven of those who died were age 17 or younger.
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The number of deaths from flu can vary from season to season. In the 2011-2012 season, only nine people died from the flu; last year, the toll was 59.