Eight people in the Houston area have contracted a mysterious disease. The patients exhibit flu-like and pneumonia-like symptoms. Four of them have died so far.
Doctors had no clue of what was afflicting any of the victims. abc13 reports that one of the four surviving hospitalized patients tested positive for the swine flu. The swine flu is also known as the H1N1 virus. So far two of the other patients have tested negative for flu. Tests on other patients should be returned in a couple of days.
Baylor influenza center doctors say flu season started early this year. They say it is not too late to get a flu shot. And this season's flu shot does protect against the H1N1 virus.
None of the people that died had received a flu shot. The flu season has not peaked yet. However, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services,
The level of flu-like illness is currently classified as “high” in Texas, and medical providers are seeing an increase in flu in multiple parts of the state. Getting vaccinated is the best way for people to protect themselves and their families from the flu during the holiday season, when there is typically an increase in flu cases.
DSHS recommends everyone six months old and older get vaccinated. People should talk to their health care provider about the best type of flu vaccine for them. A nasal spray version is available for healthy people ages 2 to 49 who are not pregnant, and a high-dose vaccine is approved for people 65 and older.
In the mean time public officials are advising that sick people stay home. They advise hand washing and using sanitizers. Everyone who can should get the flu shot.
Stay tuned. This story is still active.