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RALEIGH -- The state health department reported North Carolina's 12th flu-related death so far, making this one of the state's worst flu seasons in decades.

State Health Director Laura Gerald said the number of deaths is unusual for the state to be so early in the flu season. Gerald strongly encourages anyone older than six months to get a flu vaccination.

Nine of the 12 people were older than 64. The other three were 24 and 64 years old.

Flu outbreaks have been reported in schools and long-term care facilities. The flu is especially dangerous to pregnant women, people with chronic diseases, very young children and the elderly.

It takes about two weeks for people to develop immunity after getting the flu vaccination.

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