Correction: An earlier version of this story noted that relatives of an 8-year-old boy had told newspapers that the child died from the flu, but that information was incorrect. The child’s father told the Dispatch in Davidson County that his son’s death was not flu-related.
The first flu-related death of the flu season has been confirmed by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
The agency said the flu claimed the life of an adult in the central part of the state. DHHS does not provide any identifying information, such as age, gender or county, to protect the privacy of the individual and their family but did say the death occurred last week.
“We are very saddened by this death and send condolences to the loved ones of this person,” said State Epidemiologist Zack Moore, in the agency’s announcement. “Flu is always a serious illness, and in some cases can lead to complications and result in death, which is why we strongly encourage people to get vaccinated early and annually.”
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The flu season starts Oct. 1 and runs through May. Last winter, 391 people died in North Carolina, the highest number in the decade that state officials have been counting flu deaths consistently.
Flu deaths can happen any time of year but increase when temperatures drop and the virus becomes more active.
At least one person died from flu-related causes before Oct. 1: Wake County school board member Kathy Hartenstine, 68, whose family said her death in September was caused by flu-related complications.