Flu-related death, respiratory outbreaks in Bell County - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |


Flu-related death, respiratory outbreaks in Bell County

BELL COUNTY, TX (KXXV) - One man is dead and another is on life-support after suffering from the flu.

The Bell County health department confirmed the death earlier today. The victim was a Coryell County resident in his 60s.

Flu-related hospitalizations are significantly higher than previous years, according to the health department.

Bell County has seen over 30 flu-related cases in the past three weeks alone. The majority of these patients did not receive any flu vaccinations.

Health officials say a combination of respiratory outbreaks have helped create a peak flu season.

"We have seen a large increase of RSV (respiratory virus) as well as influenza so that's the big issues that we've seen," said Lacy Sanders, Disease Surveillance Coordinator, Bell County health department.   "We still have pertussis cases, but when you can combine it with all of the virus' you're looking at, it's been quite a hectic season for everybody involved: physicians, nurses and public health as well."

According to records from the Bell County health department there have been 242 flu-like illnesses in the past three weeks, and since September, 161 people have tested positive for "Flu-A" and twenty are "H1N1" positive.

Bell County has seen two nursing homes with RSV, or respiratory outbreaks, one child care center with a parainfluenza outbreak, and a separate child care center with an RSV outbreak.

The identification of these facilities could not be disclosed.

Sanders said the department uses the term "outbreak" when there's a 10% threshold among the population. She says for example, if there are 40 patients in the facility, then four patients is enough for the situation to be considered an "outbreak."

Sanders said it all comes down to getting your flu vaccinations. Many fear that you will get sick from the flu shot but she says that is simply not true.

She also warned people to not overuse the hand sanitizer. You should use it when you do not have the option to wash your hands.

She said washing your hands is a mechanical process and therefore can scrub away germs in a more efficient way. She also says hand sanitizer can kill the "good flora" that helps fight the bad bacteria, when overused.

For more information on how to prevent the flu and other ways to stay healthy year-round, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/.
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