Raleigh, NC -- Two people from Forsyth County died in the state's first deaths of the 2012-2013 flu season.
State Health Director Laura Gerald said Thursday one of the two adults was at higher risk for complications because of advanced age and pre-existing medical conditions. The other had no known risk factors for severe influenza illness. Neither victim had been vaccinated against the contagious illness.
Health Director, Marlon Hunter for the Forsyth County Department of Public Health said these two deaths prove that while the most at risk for the flu are pregnant women, people with chronic diseases, very young children and the elderly, healthy adults are still susceptible to the flu.
"You have someone who was relatively healthy and then someone who fit all of the criteria for someone who needed to receive a flu shot and we have experienced a death in both areas," said Hunter.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that just under half of North Carolinians were immunized against flu last year. Nine died in the state and about 25,000 nationwide during the last fall-to-spring season ending in May.
Influenza kills about 25,000 people and causes 220,000 hospitalizations every year in the United States.
In North Carolina in the 2011-2012 season, there were 9 flu deaths. In 2010-2011, there were 36 deaths. In the 2009-2010 season, there were 107 flu deaths.
For more information about flu and to find a clinic near you, visit: www.flu.nc.gov .There is a flu vaccine finder at the bottom of the home page.
NC Public Health, Associated Press, WFMY News 2, Forsyth County Department of Public Health