WakeMed sees 300% increase in flu cases as first NC child dies of flu since 2020

RALEIGH, North Carolina – The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced the first child to die from the flu statewide for the 2022-2023 flu season.

This is the first child to die of flu-related complications in the state since 2020.

To protect family privacy, the child’s hometown, county, age and gender are not disclosed. However, the child lived in eastern North Carolina.

North Carolina has seen a rapid and early rise in flu cases in recent weeks after two years of relatively low flu activity since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Influenza cases and RSV cases at UNC Health

Last week at UNC In Chapel Hill hospitals, there were 210 confirmed cases of the flu – more than double the previous week. The total number of RSV cases also increased to 244, about two-thirds of them in children.

“This is straining our hospitals, especially the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Chapel Hill,” says Dr. Alan Wolf of UNC Health. “It’s often full, although our providers are coordinating with other children’s hospitals across the state to find beds for critical patients.”

Influenza Cases and RSV Cases at Duke Health

At Duke Health, in the last full week of October, there were 155 lab-confirmed influenza PCR cases, up from just 31 the previous week.

“Same story on a different day. Continuous capacity crises and a continuous influx of RSV cases,” says Dr. samir Kamathmedical director of Duke Children’s Hospital.

Influenza cases and RSV cases at WakeMed

During the last full week of October, WakeMed reported 656 cases of influenza, as well as 17 patients hospitalized with influenza. That’s a 300% increase in the number of flus over the week. prior.

During that same week, Wake Med reported 157 positive RSV tests and 14 RSV-related hospitalizations.

“We are busy, but so far we are able to handle high patient volumes and are preparing for a very difficult winter,” a WakeMed spokesperson said. “While we are indeed seeing an unprecedented level of RSV in our community, these are not the only patients who require hospital care. We are caring for patients with a variety of illnesses and injuries. This is RSV, flu or COVID, this results in high volumes, longer wait times and staff working tirelessly to care for every patient.

Increased risk of RSV this year

North Carolina has also seen increased levels of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) this year compared to the same time in recent years, according to data reported to the department.

These trends are similar to what is seen nationally, according to the state.

Early treatment with an antiviral medication can help prevent flu infections from getting worse. Antiviral treatment works best if started soon after symptoms start.

Here are some other precautions you can take to protect yourself from the spread of the flu and other viruses:

  • Staying home when you are sick until you have been fever free for at least 24 hours
  • Wash hands frequently, preferably with soap and water
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue, then dispose of the tissue quickly
For more information about the flu and to find out where you can get the flu shot in your community, visit the NCDHHS website.

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