First flu death confirmed in health district - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

First flu death confirmed in health district

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –A 37-year old Lee County woman has died from flu complications.

It's the first flu-related death in our health district this year and it's especially worrisome because the woman had no other health problems.

Tonight, public health officials urge you to protect yourself.

Family members say 37-year old Shannon Cook was married for 16 years and was the mother of three children, ages 11, 14 and 18. They say she had no prior health problems before she passed away, which goes to show how serious and unpredictable the flu can be.

It's been a busy week at the U-Save IT pharmacy on Meredith Drive. "Up until this week we didn't see too many Tamiflu but this week we've see more of it," said Joe Dozier.

Ed Dozier says before lunchtime he had already filled numerous prescriptions for Z-pak and Tami-flu,

Public health officials say there are already a lot of positive flu cases in our district. "In our region we are seeing most of our activity in Colquitt county and Dougherty county a number of hospitalizations and a number of positive flu cases," said Jacqueline Jenkins, District Epidemiologist.

Just In Dougherty County, 53 positive flu cases, in Colquitt County 80 positive flu tests and altogether in our district 202 positive flu tests and unfortunately one flu related death.

"We have had our first flu related death in a Lee county family and public health really wants to express our sympathy to that family," said Jenkins.

Family members say 37-year old Shannon Cook passed away December 6th from the seasonal flu. "Last year we had three deaths dealing with H1N1, our death this year is seasonal flu," said Jenkins.

So far this year, children are most susceptible. The highest percentage of flu cases in Dougherty County is among those 17 and under. "We have little infants that cannot get the vaccine also this is the age group that's in school and daycare and we are in that congregated setting where you can pass bugs more readily," said Jenkins.

Health officials urge people who work with children as well as health care workers to get vaccinated.

Since the flu can become very serious very fast, health officials say prevention is key in keeping yourself healthy and safe this holiday season. It's not too late to get your flu shot.

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