The first two deaths from flu in North Carolina in the 2012-13 flu season have been reported, state health officials said.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services said both victims were adults from the Triad region. State Health Director Laura Gerald said one of the people was at a higher risk for complications from the flu because of advanced age and pre-existing medical conditions, but the other had no known risk factors for severe flu illness. Neither had received the flu vaccine, officials said.
"We extend our deepest sympathies to the families of these two individuals," Gerald said. "This is a tragic reminder of the potentially devastating effect flu can have on people at any age. With flu cases on the rise in North Carolina, it is especially important for the public to take action to protect themselves and their families."
Officials said the flu vaccine is the safest and most effective way to protect against flu and is recommended for anyone over 6 months old. It’s particularly important for people at high risk of complications, including pregnant women, people with chronic diseases, very young children and the elderly, health officials said.