• 27 more flu deaths reported in NC, bringing total to 200 for season

    Updated:

    RALEIGH, N.C. - State health officials announced Thursday that 27 more people died in the state in the last week because of the flu.

    That brings the total number of flu-related deaths in North Carolina for the season to 200.

    On Wednesday, health officials said 23 more people had died from the flu in South Carolina.

    The Department of Health and Environmental Control said that the latest deaths bring the total in the state to 151 deaths since the flu season started in October.

    [FLU RESOURCE GUIDE: What you need to know]

    DHEC said more than 17,000 people were hospitalized with flu last week. That's down about 500 cases the previous week.

    DHEC also said there were about 10,600 positive flu tests last week in South Carolina. That compares with nearly 19,000 positive flu tests the first full week of February.

    Overnight, Channel 9 learned that a federal panel voted to bring back the nasal spray vaccine FluMist, which means local doctors could be recommending it to their patients next flu season.

    The nasal mist was popular several years ago, especially among children who don't like needles. It hasn't been recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control for two years because doctors said it wasn't that effective compared to the flu shot.

    Experts who have studied the nasal mist vaccine with children ages 2 to 4 found that the 2017-2018 vaccine “performed significantly better” than the 2015-2016 vaccine.

    The mist can protect against four different influenza viruses.

    The flu season usually runs through May.

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