NCDHHS Influenza (Flu) Information

Early antiviral treatment works best.

About Influenza (Flu) Viruses

Remember to Take 3 actions to fight flu this season. 1. Get a Vaccine in shot or mist form. 2. Wash your hands. 3. Take antivirals if prescribed by your doctor if you get the flu.Flu activity is high across most of the country with flu illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths elevated. Flu season will probably continue for several weeks.

While the flu vaccine may not work as well as usual against some H3N2 viruses, vaccination can still protect some people and reduce hospitalizations and deaths, and will protect against other flu viruses.

Influenza antiviral drugs can treat flu illness. CDC recommends these drugs be used to treat people who are very sick or who are at high risk of serious flu complications who have flu symptoms. Early antiviral treatment works best.

Flu symptoms include:

  • A 100oF or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)
  • A cough and/or sore throat
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Headaches and/or body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea (most common in children)


Flu Information


  1. What are ways to prevent the flu?

    • Vaccination is still the best protection available
    • Wash your hands
    • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
    • If you are sick, stay home from work and keep your kids home from school if they are sick so it does not spread
    • If you do become sick with the flu, there are antiviral medications you can speak about with your doctor
  2. Can the flu be treated?

    Yes. There are prescription medications called "antiviral drugs" that can be used to treat influenza illness.

  3. What are antiviral drugs?

    Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid, an inhaled powder, or an intravenous solution) that fight against the flu in your body. Antiviral drugs are not sold over-the-counter. You can only get them if you have a prescription from your doctor or health care provider. Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics, which fight against bacterial infections.

  4. Should I still get a flu vaccine?

    Yes. Antiviral drugs are a second line of defense to treat the flu if you get sick. A flu vaccine is still the first and best way to prevent influenza.

  5. What are the benefits of antiviral drugs?

    When used for treatment, antiviral drugs can lessen symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by 1 or 2 days. They also can prevent serious flu complications, like pneumonia. For people with a high risk medical condition, treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having milder illness instead of very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.

  6. What antiviral drugs are recommended this flu season?

    There are three FDA-approved influenza antiviral drugs recommended by CDC this season to treat influenza. The brand names for these are Tamiflu® (generic name oseltamivir), Relenza® (generic name zanamivir), and Rapivab® (generic name peramivir). Tamiflu® is available as a pill or liquid and Relenza® is a powder that is inhaled. (Relenza® is not for people with breathing problems like asthma or COPD, for example.) Rapivab® is administered intravenously by a health care provider.

  7. Can children take antiviral drugs?

    Yes. Children can take two of the approved antiviral drugs—oseltamivir and zanamivir. Oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) is recommended by the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for the treatment of influenza in persons aged 2 weeks and older, and for the prevention of influenza in persons aged 3 months and older. Zanamivir (Relenza®) is recommended for the treatment of influenza in persons aged 7 years and older, and for the prevention of influenza in persons aged 5 years and older. Peramivir (Rapivab®) is recommended for use only in adults aged 18 and older.

  8. Can pregnant women take antiviral drugs?

    Yes. Oral oseltamivir is preferred for treatment of pregnant women because it has the most studies available to suggest that it is safe and beneficial.

  9. Who should take antiviral drugs?

    It’s very important that antiviral drugs are used early to treat hospitalized patients, people with severe flu illness, and people who are at higher risk for flu complications based on their age or underlying medical conditions. Other people also may be treated with antiviral drugs by their doctor this season. Most otherwise-healthy people who get the flu, however, do not need to be treated with antiviral drugs.

CDC: What You Should Know About Flu Antiviral Drugs


January 2015

December 2014

NC Flu-Associated Deaths*


New Flu Deaths 1/11/15-1/17/15


Total Flu Deaths Since Week 40 (ending 10/4/14)

*Influenza-associated Deaths –This number is based on reports submitted by providers to the North Carolina Division of Public Health. An influenza-associated death is defined for surveillance purposes as a death (adult or pediatric) resulting from a clinically compatible illness that was confirmed to be influenza by an appropriate laboratory or rapid diagnostic test with no period of complete recovery between the illness and death. Deaths that occurred after 1/17/15 will be included in subsequent surveillance summaries.

Influenza Virus Isolates

Influenza Virus Isolates Identified by the State Laboratory of Public Health During the 2014-2015 Influenza Season*

Week Number Ending Total Confirmed County Virus Type No. Isolates of Same Virus
40 10/4/2014 01 Unknown A (H3) 1
41 10/11/2014 01 Wake A (H3) 1
42 10/18/2014 01 Pitt A (H3) 1
43 10/25/2014 00 N/A N/A 0
44 11/1/2014 00 N/A N/A 0
45 11/8/2014 01 Pitt A (H3) 1
46 11/15/2014 02 Orange A (H3) 2
47 11/22/2014 13 Alamance A (H3) 1
Buncombe A (H3) 2
Franklin A (H3) 1
Guilford A (H3) 1
Orange A (unsubtypable) 1
Wake A (H3) 7
48 11/29/2014 05 Buncombe A (H3) 1
Buncombe B 1
Greene A (H3) 1
Wake A (H3) 2
49 12/6/2014 12 Franklin A (H3) 1
Guilford A (H3) 1
Lenoir A (H3) 1
Orange A (H3) 4
Pitt A (H3) 2
Sampson A (H3) 1
Wake A (H3) 1
Yancey A (H3) 1
50 12/13/2014 14 Durham A (H3) 1
Forsyth A (H3) 2
Franklin A (H3) 1
Greene A (H3) 1
Guilford A (H3) 1
Halifax A (H3) 1
McDowell A (H3) 1
Mitchell A (H3) 2
Mitchell B 1
Unknown A (H3) 1
Watauga A (H3) 1
Yancey A (H3) 1
51 12/20/2014 9 Alamance A (H3) 1
Caldwell A (H3) 1
Guilford A (H3) 1
Mecklenburg A (H3) 1
Mitchell A (H3) 1
Pitt A (H3) 2
Stanly A (H3) 1
Union A (H3) 1
52 12/27/2014 06 Durham A (H3) 1
Henderson A (H3) 1
Mitchell A (H3) 2
Orange A (H3) 1
Union A (H3) 1
53 1/3/2015 38 Buncombe B 1
Craven A (H3) 1
Mitchell A (H3) 1
New Hanover A (H3) 7
Onslow A (H3) 3
Orange A (H3) 1
Pender A (H3) 1
Pitt A (H3) 2
Robeson A (H3) 16
Stanly A (H3) 1
Unknown A (H3) 2
Yancey A (H3) 2
1 1/10/2015 15 Duplin A (H3) 2
Granville A (H3) 1
Guilford A (H3) 1
Hoke A (H3) 1
McDowell A (H3) 1
Onslow A (H3) 1
Orange A (H3) 1
Stanly A (H3) 1
Union A (H3) 2
Unknown A (H3) 1
Wake A (H3) 2
Watauga A (H3) 1
2 1/17/2015 22 Alamance A (H3) 2
Caldwell A (H3) 1
Caswell A (H3) 1
Durham A (H3) 1
Forsyth A (H3) 2
Mecklenburg A (H3) 1
Mitchell A (H3) 1
Northampton A (H3) 1
Orange A (H3) 5
Pitt A (H3) 2
Unknown A (H3) 2
Wake A (H3) 1
Watauga A (H3) 1
Wilson A (H3) 1
A (H1N1) Pandemic 0
A (H3) 136
A (H3N2v) 0
B 3
Total 140

*2014-2015 Season began September 28, 2014
Note: This table only includes isolates tested as of 1/17/15.
This table does not include influenza isolates identified by other laboratories.

Past Seasons


Communicable Disease

 Telephone: (919) 733-3419 (main number; 24 hours)

 Website: North Carolina Communicable Disease

Media Inquiries

 Telephone: (919) 855-4840