RALEIGH, N.C. -- Seven people died of the flu in North Carolina last week, bringing the total number of flu-related deaths statewide to 20 since the beginning of October, public health officials said Thursday.

The seven deaths in the week ending Dec. 30 were almost double the previous weekly high this season and included the second child to die of the flu, officials said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said up to half of all children who die as a result of the flu have no known medical condition that put them at higher risk for complications of the illness.

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