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Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses External link. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The safest, most effective way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone 6 months and older get their yearly flu vaccine External link.

In addition to vaccination, you can prevent flu and other illness by:

  • Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then discarding the tissue promptly
  • Washing hands frequently with soap and water. If they are not available, use an approved hand sanitizer.
  • Staying home when you are sick.

Where Can You Get Flu Vaccine?

Vaccine is readily available. Use the convenient flu vaccine finder below to locate a provider in your city or zip code.

Contact your health care provider or local health department External link.

State employees who are part of the state health plan and their covered family members are eligible for free flu shots. For more information, visit this page.

Novel Influenza Strains

Sometimes people are infected with influenza viruses that are not the normal seasonal strains. These infections are often related to contact with influenza viruses from animals, such as birds or pigs. While most of these infections are isolated cases or small clusters, these unusual or "novel" influenza viruses have the potential to spread widely and cause pandemics if they are able to spread from person-to-person, as was the case during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. The following links provide information about current and recent novel influenza strains.

Influenza A (H7N9)

Human infections with influenza A (H7N9) virus were first identified in China in April 2013. To date, there have been no cases reported outside of China and there has been no evidence of sustained person-to-person spread.

Influenza A H3N2 variant (H3N2v)

Human infections with influenza A H3N2 variant viruses have been reported in multiple states since 2011. This variant virus most often produces mild illness with symptoms similar to seasonal influenza. The majority of cases were among children and all cases had direct or indirect contact with swine. Swine contact occurred most often at agricultural fairs. To date, there have been 0 cases reported in North Carolina. Seasonal vaccine is not expected to protect against H3N2v. Below are a few important documents related to the detection and treatment of H3N2v.



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