2 flu-related deaths reported in McLennan County

Posted at 1:22 PM, Jan 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:31:21-04

There have been two flu-related deaths reported in McLennan County this season. 

According to the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District, both deaths happened in December and involved people over the age of 80. 

Twenty-six states reported high flu activity toward the end of December, including Texas

“We’ve continued to see an increase in flu activity since November and right now much of the country is experiencing widespread and intense flu activity,” Centers for Disease Control spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said.

In Dallas County, 23 patients who had high-risk health conditions died after complications from the seasonal flu. 

Overall, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, since October 1,155 people had pneumonia or influenza reported as an underlying or contributing cause of death in their death certificate.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 46 states reported widespread influenza activity during the week of Dec. 24 to Dec. 30 with H3N2 viruses being the most common this year, which has been associated with severe illness, especially among children and people who are 65 or older.

On Wednesday, Bosque Hillcrest Clinic patient Evan Harder tested positive for flu type A, which is the one that contains the H3N2 viruses.

He describes having body aches and a debilitating cough for five days, which has forced him to miss work for the past three days.

 "I work in a commission-based industry. I've missed a lot of time and that's going to impact me,” Harder said.

The 31-year-old got the flu shot but still got the virus.

Dr. John McClanahan said he has seen some of those cases this year but the majority are people who didn't get the vaccine.

"I would say the most common scenario, people don't get their flu shot and come in with flu-like symptoms,” McLanahan said.

He added one out of four patients who visit the clinic, have the flu.

"We are seeing a lot of flu and unfortunately we have seen a lot of hospitalizations because of it,” McClanahan said.

He said for most patients, the infection will go away after treating the symptoms. However, children under the age of 2, pregnant women and people with chronic heart and lung issues can benefit from using prescribed medication, such as Tamiflu, the first two or three days of the virus.

“Some people are so sick. They’re having trouble breathing, they can get pneumonia and they really need to be in the hospital for that. Most people don’t. It would just run its course and go away and all you can is treat the symptoms,” McClanahan said.

Doctors still encourage people to get their flu shot ahead of peak season.

The CDC said antiviral drugs are a second line of defense.

The agency also recommends that people who are very sick or people who are sick who are at high risk of serious flu complications be treated early with flu antiviral drugs.

During the week of Dec. 22, McLennan County saw more than 1,500 cases of flu. McLennan County has since started to see a decline in reported flu cases.

In December, Brazos County had more than 1,400 flu-related cases reported.

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