Some county health directors do not publicly report flu deaths, citing patient privacy policies or state DHHS directives.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported Thursday there were 16 flu-related deaths for the week that ended Sunday, as well as three deaths from previous weeks. Jackson county has five hospitalizations while Tillman county has only 2. Death rates fluctuate annually but have been reported as high as 49,000 in a single year.
Sixteen more people died from complications of the flu in North Carolina last week, making it the deadliest week this flu season as the prevalence of the viral illness continues to increase.
That being the case, the number of hospitalizations have led to the conclusion that the flu virus is not only widespread in the county, but also severe.
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Officials say residents in Tulsa County has been hardest hit by the flu this season, leading to 13 deaths in that county.
In a study of Medicare beneficiaries, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration found older adults given high-dose flu vaccines were better protected against influenza death than those receiving normal-dose vaccines.
Those showing symptoms of the flu are encouraged by the CDC to stay home for at least 24 hours after a fever disappears without the need for fever-reducing medications to keep it down.
The health department says flu vaccine supply is good this year. It's still unknown if she had received her flu vaccine this year.