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January 17, 2014

Shands Live Oak: 81 flu cases in 3 months

1 death confirmed, 2 died with flu-like symptoms

Live Oak —

Influenza has been confirmed as the cause of death of one local resident at Shands Live Oak Regional Medical Center and two other Suwannee County residents passed away with flu-like symptoms, according to Doctor Edwin Moore, medical director of emergency department.  

“We have seen more than 12 cases this week,” Moore said. “This year it’s very pathologic and the flu is so rapid.”

In October of 2013, no cases of influenza, commonly known as the flu, were reported. The following month, Shands reported 14 cases tested positive for influenza A. By December, the number of influenza A cases arose to 67, a total of 81 cases within three months. 

The flu has been determined to be the cause of death for one local resident, as previously reported by this newspaper. Two other deaths occurred while the individuals had flu-like symptoms, however, the flu was never determined to be the cause of death. Moore said all three deaths were people aging from 40-60.

“It’s common to see people in their middle ages die from the flu. We’re seeing it target younger ages and people that were considered to be healthy,” he said.

“A flu swab is only 70 percent accurate,” Moore said. “That’s why doctors in our community are treating people (for the flu) without even doing a test.”

“Influenza A is the bad one,” Moore said. “They’re all bad, but flu A has terrible subtypes and has the worst symptoms. Flu B is the lesser one. It can still make you very sick, but it doesn’t have a complication rate as high as flu A.”

Moore said the flu begins when it starts to get cold outside and people move inside. It typically begins around October and starts to dissolve around March.

“When the body gets exposed, it tries to fight it off, which causes a high fever,” Moore said. 

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