UNC Fraud Report Released

Four New Flu Deaths In NC Last Week, Three Additional Found

Four people died from the flu last week and three additional flu deaths from previous weeks have been discovered, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

At the last report, 74 people had been killed by the flu in North Carolina this flu season. The total is now up to 81, which is 22 more than last season’s total of 59.

Four deaths is the lowest reported total since the first full week in January showing a continued downward trend since the peak of 12 in late January. This time period also marked just the second week since January 12 that a pediatric death has not been reported.

To see more statistics of flu-reported deaths in North Carolina, click here.

http://chapelboro.com/news/health/four-new-flu-deaths-nc-last-week-three-additional-found/

NC Flu Death Toll Climbs To 74

Eight more people died from flu-related complications last week in North Carolina, according to figures released Thursday by the State Department of Health and Human Services.

Seventy four people in total have died of influenza statewide since flu season began in October of last year.

Typical seasonal flus tend to impact very young children with underdeveloped immune systems or the elderly who have weakened immune systems.

But for the 2013-2014 flu season, 30 of the total number of deaths have occurred among adults aged 25 to 49, followed by people aged 50 to 64, with 24 deaths.

One infant and two children between ages 5 and 17 have died as well.

The H1N1 strain of flu, also known as the Swine Flu, has caused a majority of deaths in the state.

Health experts warn that the number of flu cases typically increases in January and February, though deaths were reported as late as May in 2013.

The best way to prevent against the flu is aggressive hand washing and getting the flu vaccine.

It is not too late for people to get their annual flu shot, but it does take two weeks after inoculation for the antibodies to develop in your body and become effective. The Center for Disease Control recommends that people six months and older get vaccinated for the flu.

The antiviral medication TAMIFLU® can reduce the severity and duration of symptoms if you do come down with the flu.

The flu vaccine is offered at the Orange County Health Department. To find other locations where the vaccine is administered, click here.

http://chapelboro.com/news/health/nc-flu-death-toll-climbs-74/

Flu Deaths Reach 64 in North Carolina

NORTH CAROLINA – State health officials reported Friday that seven more people died last week from flu complications, bringing the total number to 64.

Judy Butler, Community Health Services Supervisor for the Orange County Health Department, acknowledges it’s been a bad year for the flu in North Carolina, the second-worst in recent memory (107 flu deaths were reported during the swine flu outbreak of 2009-10).

“It looks like from the number of people who were being seen by medical providers for flu-like illnesses, that we are still above where we have been some years at this time,” says Butler.

She confirms the state’s number – 64 North Carolinians have died from flu complications so far this year, as of February 8.

Last year, the state reported 59 deaths for the whole season. The flu season typically lasts from November through March.

According to Butler, no Orange County residents are reported to have died of flu this year. She says that while some deaths occurred at UNC Hospitals, those were patients that were transferred from other counties.

Contrary to what a lot of people may believe, extreme weather has little to do with the spread of the flu. But it can be a small factor.

“If someone had had an extreme weather exposure to the point that their immune system was weakened, it would make them more susceptible,” Butler says. “I would not say that the weather contributed beyond the point that you would have had people inside, and closer in proximity to each other.”

The flu season peaks at different times, and this year it’s peaking early. In the meantime Butler says it’s never too late to get a flu shot.

“They’ll be available all the way until they expire, which will be in June,” she says.

She adds that even though some people get the shot and still get sick, that’s no reason to dismiss vaccines.

“Flu vaccine’s not 100 percent effective,” says Butler. “But it’s the best thing there is.”

Plus, she says, those who were vaccinated and got the flu anyway can take heart in knowing that, without the vaccine, it could have been a lot worse.

http://chapelboro.com/news/health/flu-deaths-reach-64-north-carolina/

NC Flu Deaths Climb To 56

NORTH CAROLINA – Ten more people died from the flu in North Carolina last week, according to figures released Thursday by the State Department of Health and Human Services.

Fifty-six people in total have died of the influenza-related complications statewide since flu season began in October of last year.

DHHS reported 12 deaths for the week of January 19 through January 25, which is the highest weekly total so far.

Typical seasonal flus tend to impact very young children with underdeveloped immune systems or the elderly who have weakened immune systems.

But for the 2013-2014 flu season, 22 of the total number of deaths have occurred among adults aged 25 to 49, followed by people aged 50 to 64, with 19 deaths.

One infant and two children between ages 5 and 17 have died as well.

The H1N1 strain of flu, also known as the Swine Flu, has caused a majority of deaths in the state.

Health experts warn that the number of flu cases typically increases in January and February, though deaths were reported as late as May in 2013.

The best way to prevent against the flu is aggressive hand washing and getting the flu vaccine.

It is not too late for people to get their annual flu shot, but it does take two weeks after inoculation for the antibodies to develop in your body and become effective. The Center for Disease Control recommends that people six months and older get vaccinated for the flu.

The antiviral medication TAMIFLU® can reduce the severity and duration of symptoms if you do come down with the flu.

The flu vaccine is offered at the Orange County Health Department. To find other locations where the vaccine is administered, click here.

http://chapelboro.com/news/health/nc-flu-deaths-climb-56/

Highest Weekly Flu Death Total Reported In NC, Death Toll Rises To 44

ORANGE COUNTY – Eleven people have died from flu-related complications last week in North Carolina, the highest weekly total so far this flu season, according to figures released Thursday from the State Department of Health and Human Services.

Forty-four people in the State have died from influenza since flu season began in October of last year.

Pam McCall, Director of Personal Health Services for the Orange County Health Department, said peak flu season is upon us.

“This does correlate with what it was like last year. This past week in 2013 also registered the highest number of flu deaths [so far for the 2012-2013 flu season].”

The number of cases typically increases in January and February, though she added that in 2013, there were flu deaths reported as late as May.

McCall added that the number of deaths is not unusual at this stage of the flu season.

“Last year at this time, there were 41 total deaths reported, and right now, we are at 44 so it is a little higher. This flu season, the difference is the age ranges [who are being affected]. Last year, the older adults made up a majority of the flu deaths. This year, it is in that 25-64 age range.”

Typical seasonal flus tend to impact very young children with underdeveloped immune systems or the elderly who have weakened immune systems.

But for the 2013-2014 flu season, 19 of the total number of deaths have occurred among adults aged 25 to 49, followed by people aged 50 to 64, with 14 deaths.

Some good news is that the number of new flu cases reported by UNC Hospitals has dropped significantly.

For the week of January 19 through January 25, they were 41 lab-confirmed influenza cases compared to 82 the preceding week.

“That too seems to indicate that we have reached the peak of the season so far since we have had a dramatic drop at UNC Hospitals, at least in the number of cases. It does look like the numbers are going down overall in the State,” she said.

It is not too late for people to get their annual flu shot, but McCall said it does take two weeks after inoculation for the antibodies to develop in your body and become effective. The Center for Disease Control recommends that people six months and older get vaccinated for the flu.

McCall said if you do come down with the flu, the antiviral medication TAMIFLU® can reduce the severity and duration of symptoms.

The flu vaccine is offered at the Orange County Health Department. To find other locations where the vaccine is administered, click here.


http://chapelboro.com/news/health/highest-weekly-flu-death-total-reported-nc-death-toll-rises-44/

NC Deaths Due To Flu Increase 33

CHAPEL HILL – Five more deaths due to the flu were reported last week, bringing the total number of deaths in North Carolina to at least 33, according to figures released Thursday by the State Department of Health and Human Services.

The death of a child due to the flu was reported in Alamance County Wednesday, but was not included in the numbers released this week.  One other child died earlier this month due to influenza.

The Center for Disease Control recommends that people six months and older get vaccinated for the flu.

Pam McCall, Director of Personal Health Services for the Orange County Health Department, said that it is particularly important that families with infants get the flu vaccine to keep the virus from spreading to the child. She recommended that pregnant women also get vaccinated.

“Once those antibodies develop in the women’s system, she passed them along to her baby so that when the baby is born, he or she will have some of what they call passive antibodies or passive immunity to the flu,” McCall said. “That will help protect them to a certain degree even though they [the infant] can’t get the vaccine.”

McCall said that the number of deaths is not unusual at this stage of the flu season.

“Last year at this time the total number of deaths was 38, so we are around the same number.”

Typical seasonal flus tend to impact very young children with underdeveloped immune systems or the elderly who have weakened immune systems.

But for the 2013-2014 flu season, 15 of the total number of deaths have occurred among adults aged 25 to 49. The majority of those flu deaths were due to the H1N1 strain.

H1N1, which is also carried by pigs, caused a world-wide pandemic in 2009. McCall said it impacted younger people then as well.

“I am not sure why—I don’t think there is real clear information about why this particular virus [H1N1] affects younger people  more, but that does seem to be what happens.”

McCall said peak flu season is upon us. The number of cases typically increases in January and February, though she added that in 2013, there were flu deaths reported as late as May.

It is not too late for people to get their annual flu shot, but McCall said it does take two weeks after inoculation for the antibodies to develop in your body and become effective.

“I do have some good news—the vaccine closely matches the circulating virus including the H1N1. The message is still to get a flu vaccination.”

McCall said if you do come down with the flu, the antiviral medication TAMIFLU® can reduce the severity and duration of symptoms.

The flu vaccine is offered at the Orange County Health Department. To find other locations where the vaccine is administered, click here.

http://chapelboro.com/news/health/nc-deaths-due-flu-increase-33/

UNC Urging Students To Get Flu Shot

CHAPEL HILL – The H1N1 flu has caused an increase in flu-related deaths in North Carolina this year with only two of the 21 deceased older than 65, and UNC is reaching out to its students to urge preventative care.

Campus Health Services executive director Dr. Mary Covington says this is the same strand of flu that caused what was know as the swine flu epidemic in 2009.

“It seems that the younger folks maybe don’t have as much immunity to this virus, and so it’s particularly important that young and middle-aged people get vaccinated,” Dr. Covington says.

Campus Health Services flu shots are only open to students at the University. The clinic is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday during the academic year.

However, Dr. Covington says now in the heart of flu season there are additional clinics open to all members of campus.

“We’re actually running six additional clinics in convenient locations on campus so that any faculty, staff, or student could go there and get a flu shot,” Dr. Covington says.

She says getting your flu shot is the most important preventative step during any flu season.

“That’s one of the most important preventative measures, and the other one is to wash your hands and practice good hand hygene,” Dr. Covington says.

UNC Campus Health Services is located in the James A. Taylor Building which sits between Kenan Football Stadium and UNC Hospitals.

For contact information, click here.

http://chapelboro.com/news/health/unc-urging-students-get-flu-shot/

Flu Season Putting Stress On Vaccine Supply

NORTH CAROLINA – Flu season is still a month or so away from its peak, and health officials are urging people to get their flu shots with the number of cases continuing to rise.

Because of the uptick in cases, all Duke University Health System hospitals began restricting visitation rules on Monday, including ambulatory surgery patients being limited to immediate family or designated care givers, 18 and older, those who are not sick with the flu, and patients can’t have more than two adult visitors at once.

The restrictions are only temporary; Duke put similar restrictions in place last year.

Health officials are still stressing to the public to get flu shots. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to kick in once administered. Some pharmacies have noticed an increase in demand and therefore a decrease in supply.

Eight people have died from the flu in North Carolina this season.

For information about Health Department clinics in Orange County, click here.

http://chapelboro.com/news/health/flu-season-putting-stress-vaccine-supply/

Preparing For Flu Season

ORANGE COUNTY – As the weather gets colder, lots of people will start coming down with colds, sore throats and possibly the flu.

Ann Zellmen is a clinical nurse with the Orange County Health Department.  She says that so far in North Carolina, influenza activity has remained low and is sporadic throughout the state, but that could change.

“So far, it’s been a mild season,” Zellmen says. “But it’s early.  Most people would guess the flu peaks in November or December.  But historically, the flu peaks in February.”

She says this could be the week the flu starts to spread because so many people will be gathering together.

“One of the things to remember is the flu doesn’t peak because of seasonal variables,” Zellmen says. “The flu peaks because people come indoors and come into close contact with each other.  So, it is important to remember that when you find yourself in that kind of environment, you want to be actively  thinking about measures  you can take to prevent the flu.”

Zellman tells us there are some very simple measures a person can take to prevent getting the flu.

“Hand washing is very important,” Zellmen says. “It’s important to remember that the flu is an airborne disease.  So, if you are coughing and sneezing, you want to make sure you are doing that into your elbow or into a tissue.  And that you are washing your hands afterward.”

She says that if you have not gotten your flu shot, yet you need to do so as quickly as you can…

“Absolutely not too late,” Zellmen says. “It’s really important to continue vaccinating through February and sometimes even later depending on what the flu behavior is like out in the community.  Anyone, who hasn’t had a flu shot yet, should get one as soon as possible.”

And Zellman says young and old alike should get a flu shot.

“Everybody needs a flu shot,” Zellmen says. “That’s the C-D-C recommendation.  Everybody over 6 months of age should get a flu shot.”

http://chapelboro.com/news/health/preparing-flu-season/

NC Requires Worker Flu Shot At Gov’t Health Centers

Photo by USACE

RALEIGH  – North Carolina state government’s 10,000 employees at public mental hospitals, substance abuse treatment centers and other facilities for people with disabilities will have to get flu vaccinations by Dec. 1.

The new mandatory policy announced by Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Aldona Wos (vahsh) also applies to volunteers at the 14 state-operated health care facilities. Flu vaccinations have been voluntary.

Wos called the decision responsible, pointing out it follows what more than 50 hospitals and health system in the state require. Wos says the requirement will create a safer environment for patients and staff. She says patients and residents are at high risk for flu-related complications.

Work-site vaccination clinics will be held in the fall. Workers covered by the state employee health insurance plan get the shot for free.

http://chapelboro.com/news/health/nc-requires-worker-flu-shot-at-govt-health-centers/