Flu-associated deaths in North Carolina have now reached 20 since the season began. 

The season runs from October to May, usually peaking in North Carolina around January or February.   

The virus predominating this year is Influenza A (H3N2) – one that is covered by the vaccination. State epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore says those who are over 65 and under 5 are hardest hit by this strain.

“We're seeing an increase in visits to doctors offices, visits to emergency rooms, and increase in outbreaks of influenza in long-term care facilities, and unfortunately an increase in flu-associated deaths,” he says.

North Carolina reported 219 flu-associated deaths in the 2016-17 season, which was also an H3N2 year. 

For those who haven't had a flu shot, Moore says it's not too late. The vaccine is recommended any time the virus is circulating, but the sooner the better. He expects to see high levels of flu activity at least for the next few weeks.

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