Health officials: 16 flu deaths in North Carolina last week

North Carolina health officials said there were 16 new flu-related deaths between February 19 and 25th, bringing the total for this flu season to 63.

Updated numbers were released by the Oklahoma State Department of Health on Wednesday morning regarding influenza across the state.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these individuals during this hard time", said Robert Resendes, Public Health Director.

The health department says even if you've already had the flu this season the strain is often different at the end of the season so you're still at risk.

Oklahoma County has seen five deaths and 272 hospitalizations related to the virus.

Deaths from flu-related conditions are at high levels, and the CDC reported that hospitalizations for children under 4 and adults over 65 are up. High-dose vaccine was not better at preventing deaths in patients studied during that flu season. School nurses locally have been reaching out to the health district expressing concerns about increases in the number of students reporting flu-like illnesses.

Health officials are also encouraging people to get the flu vaccine if they haven't, to wash their hands and stay away from others who may be showing flu-like symptoms.

A summary from the agency said the flu was widespread in North Carolina during last week. The CDC reports that typically the flu vaccine is between 40 and 60 percent effective. Flu activity in Tennessee, Montana, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii has been deemed "regional", while in Utah is has been classified as "sporadic".

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