San Patricio County Reports Three Flu-Related Deaths Since Dec. 20

San Patricio County officials have announced three flu-related deaths in the county since Dec. 20. On that day, a two-year old succumbed to the illness.

Two more deaths believed to be flu related occurred in the county just last week.

Officials are considering setting up emergency clinics in parts of the county. The county's health director, Dr. James Mobley, said influenza cases are spread across the county and pose a serious concern, especially for the young, the elderly and anyone with health problems.

Mobley said he is seeing the most cases of flu since the H1N1 outbreak several years ago.

"One confirmed death, which is a two-year old child, and she actually died on Dec. 20, and yesterday afternoon we got the results from the coroner that she did have influenza A," Mobley said. "We're still investigating that at this time. This morning, we also learned that it's very likely that a 23-year old female and a 46-year old male have also recently died of influenza in this county."

One woman who works at the county health department, Marisa Palacios, is pregnant and was encouraged by Dr. Mobley to get the flu shot. She let 3News tag along as she got her shot.

"He insisted since I'm around a bunch of sick people that it's healthier for me and the baby, and that most pregnant women should be getting their flu shots now," Palacios said. "Just the fact that anyone can get the flu and it's really limited for us to take medications at this time, it would be the best thing to do."

Doctors say getting the shot now can lessen the severity of any flu-like illness you might get. The county is waiting for information from the state before setting up some immunization clinics, but said there is no shortage of the vaccine among area doctors and drug stores.

One interesting side benefit of the flu vaccine, according to Dr. Mobley, is it also lessens the chance of heart attacks from the flu by 20-25 percent.


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