North Carolina HHS reports first three adult deaths from influenza

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported on Tuesday the first three adult deaths due to seasonal influenza infections and is urging high risk groups to get vaccinated immediately.

The three victims were from Eastern North Carolina, the Charlotte region and the Triad region of North Carolina. All three victims were middle aged and suffered from underlying medical conditions.

"We extend our deepest sympathy to all of the families on their loss," Acting State Health Director Robin Gary Cummings said. "We hope that these tragic cases will help alert other people to the risks associated with contracting flu."

The North Carolina DHHS said reports of influenza infections are beginning to pour in, as the flu season usually peaks in January and February in the state. The North Carolina DDHS representatives asked that anyone with heightened risk of infection, such as children less than two years of age, pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes or compromised immune systems, be vaccinated against the influenza immediately.

"Anyone in a high risk group who gets the flu should see a doctor right away so they can receive treatment with an antiviral drug," Cummings said. "Early treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between a mild illness and a very serious illness."