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Flu-related illness has killed at least 5 people in the metro

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. --  A common virus is killing people in the metro. The flu or flu-related illnesses have now killed five people here. There is also one death where the pending cause may also be flu-related, but that has yet to be confirmed.

No children in the metro have died from flu-related illnesses so far this year, but two doctors at two different area hospitals say this flu season is proving to be alarming.

"This particular flu season is proving devastating for adults between the ages of 20-50," said Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, the Division Director of Infectious Diseases at Children's Mercy Hospital.

Dr. Lee Norman, Chief Medical Doctor at the University of Kansas Hospital,  also says of this years flu season has been dangerous.

"This is very serious and life threatening," Dr. Norman said.

Those usually considered low-risk, young and relatively healthy adults, are being hit hard, mostly by the H1N1 virus according to Dr. Norman.

"In 30 plus years of practice I think these are the worst two years I've ever seen," he said.

Dr. Jackson agreed.

"Absolutely worse than previous years that I've seen," she said.

At least five people between 20 and 50 years old have died from the flu or flu-related illness according to Dr. Jackson.

Many others with the influenza A virus remain in intensive care units, including a young mother at the University of Kansas Hospital who delivered a healthy newborn baby while in ICU.

"She's not really okay. She's been on that advanced treatment called ECMO, which there's only a few of those devices in Kansas City, and she's chugging along but she's struggling," Dr. Norman said.

"These are the parents of our patients," said Dr. Jackson.

Children are not immune. Dr. Jackson says at Children's Mercy Hospital, they've detected influenza in over 1,000 children since the season started about seven weeks ago. She said that is just the tip of the iceberg.

"We do not believe we are at the peak of disease yet, despite the fact that over the last week or so, and this had been reported by the CDC also, there's been a little step down in the number of cases that have been reported," Dr. Jackson said.

Both physicians say most of those being treated in hospitals during this severe flu season have one thing in common.

"The one commonality is that most of them are not immunized. Matter of fact, I don't know if any of the critically ill ones that we've seen have had their immunization," Dr. Norman said.

Doctors say even if you've already been sick, if you haven't gotten a flu shot, it is absolutely the most effective way to keep yourself healthy.

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  • RachBak

    Ok, the last paragraph: “even if you have already been sick….”
    If you already have been sick, then you have what’s called NATURAL IMMUNITY, which trumps their fake flu shot bs any day of the week.
    They just want to line their pockets $$$$
    The media is Big Pharma’s puppet.

  • nihilissa

    Please stop trying to shove this shot down out throats. If out of the thousands of people 5 have died it’s not an awful statistic. I want to know how many have been made sick by the vaccine itself? How many have died or had permanent nerve or brain damage from it? It does happen. I’ve had this influenza a few years ago. It was horrible and landed my son in the ER but I’d rather deal with that than risk a shot that only sometimes works and has the ability to cause death or brain damage. We are otherwise healthy people. I’ll take my chances. And just so people know the flu shot won’t stop the swine flu or norovirus that’s going around.

  • Karla Ann Evans

    It’s terrible ppl are dying from the flu but the shot is a joke! My bf contracted guillian bar from it and almost died. We just got over the flu recently. We rode it out and did fine. The flu shot has flu in it and lots of other harmful stuff. Why would I want it shoved in my body?! It’s personal preference but practicing preventiveness is a huge way of not getting the flu. Would the shot have saved these ppl? Who knows. I’m just sick of health care ppl saying get a shot. More needs to be done with the flu shot so it’s safer. Maybe then more ppl will jump on this band wagon.

  • Heather Hawkins-Hoehne

    Just to point out one of the doctors’ comments about “all of the people that have died have not been immunized” this is False. My husband died from H1N1 and he had his flu shot at the end of November.

  • amanda dunn

    Last year I didnt get my young sons flu shots & they didnt get it. This year I did & I have a 8year old home right now that tested positive for the flu typeA this week. So far no one else has gotten it here & I hope it stays that way. I do have to say that it really hasnt been that bad for him…fever, cough, tired & low appetite but thats all so maybe the shot helps it not be so bad plus we caught it early enough that he got tamiflu so that might be helping him as well.

  • witty

    My father and I got the shot and both of us got the flu. I’ve only gotten the shot twice in life and both times got the flu and missed a week of work. Amazing how many people on this forum, and in my work environment, don’t believe officials when they say the flu shot is safe and doesn’t actually cause the flu. I too, am starting to believe it’s all about pharmaceutical profits.

  • Sheila Baker

    I have gotten the flu shot for the last 6 years and have never had the flu or reactions from the vaccine. I’m all for it. They say also that if you do get the flu it will be a lot less “painful” if you have the shot. Just like everything else…different strokes for different folks. But, it works for me. Also wash my hands ALOT!

  • Steve

    Amaazing. Everyone believes information because someone told them so or they read it on the internet. If you understood “dead virus” you would understand it is absolutely impossible to get the flu from such a virus. Can a vaccine kill. Yes, unfortunately it does to a few. But it saves so many lives. Would you like to see Polio back in the US? How about chicken pox, mumps, measles? I’ve had all these diseases except polio and watching children die of these other diseases is like watching someone refuse to get a rabies shot when they were bitten by a wild raccoon during daylight (guaranteed to have rabies). It is this crazy mentality that has pertusis rampant again. In the 70’s and early 80’s, vaccines were filthy. They contained tons of albumin and other undesirable proteins being injected into your blood stream. Since the late 90’s, this is entirely different with much cleaner vaccines. Yes, the shot made me sick as well back then. But influenza is very difficult to predict. Do you even know why it was called H1N1 or Swine Flu or Hongkong Flu? Every time influenza replicates in a animal other than humans, it morphs into something new. There are 3 types of influenza, A, B and C. H1N1 is A, the worst kind. This is why in years 2 and 3 people don’t usually get nearly as sick (B, C), these go in cycles. You can’t make a vaccine instantly, much less in enough concentration to distribute World-wide. So 6 months or more early, you try and predict the best possible vaccine to proviide and these now days have some multiple benefits. Google children killed in the US in 2014. The CDC has all the statistics and it is really scary. Be scared of the disease, not the possible solution (whether it fully works or not).People who lose a loved one to this influenza who did not get the vaccine, will always question their decision. People who did get the vaccine, should hope that better ones are made to protech more people in the future.

  • Cael Sanderson

    This is absolutely rediculous nobody on this entire web page knows what their talking about and I do u guys are all just a bunch of meat heads because I have the virus right now and I received the shot and I’m laying in a hospital bed with 56 hours to live according to my doctor … My warning to u don’t get the shot.

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