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CDC Warns of Flu Related Deaths in Children
Info Terrorist | Feb. 24,2003

Posted on 02/24/2003 11:54:22 AM PST by oceanperch

CDC reacts to deaths with alert to officials
By STEVE STONE AND MICHELLE MIZAL-ARCHER , The Virginian-Pilot © February 23, 2003

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta are alerting every state health agency to watch for child deaths similar to those that have occurred in recent weeks in Virginia, Michigan and Ohio.

So far, the CDC has received reports of at least 14 children nationally who have died suddenly after experiencing upper respiratory infections and fevers.

The alert is entirely routine, a CDC spokeswoman said Saturday. Local, state and federal officials said there is still no evidence that the cluster of deaths in such a short period represents anything other than a tragic coincidence.

''From what we have learned so far, it does look like a viral-related situation,'' said Kathy Harben, a CDC spokeswoman in Atlanta. ''There are no known links between the patients,'' she said, noting the cases were still being evaluated.

In addition to the CDC alert, Virginia's health department sent letters Friday asking physicians to notify state health officials of patients who have suffered from any unexplained or unusual illness.

By late Saturday afternoon, state health officials had no new information to report on the unusual deaths of five Virginia children — four in Hampton Roads — in four days. More information may become available Monday afternoon, said Trina Lee, a Virginia Department of Health spokeswoman.

Maria C. Carter, 2, of Portsmouth, may have suffered from an infection that moved to her heart, medical examiners said after an autopsy. Maria died Feb. 16. Seven-year-old Rachel Broome of Virginia Beach went home sick Monday with a cough and died Wednesday. Bianca Zelena Soria, 6, of Hampton, died the same day from what is believed to have been a viral infection.

At least one more child from Hampton Roads and one from Richmond have died after having similar symptoms, Lee said.

If the deaths prove to be simply an atypical result of a typical flu season, that should come as no surprise, Harben said: ''The flu situation is different every year.''

All the children suffered symptoms common with viral or bacterial infections.

''I understand that all parents will be concerned about their children,'' said Dr. Robert B. Stroube, the Virginia health commissioner. ''However, at this time of the year, many children have upper respiratory infections and flu, and at this point I have no reason to believe children are at an increased risk of serious illness.''

The CDC probe includes seven deaths in Michigan between Jan. 25 and Feb. 3 and two in Ohio as well as the five last week in Virginia.

An additional case, the death of an 18-month-old Elizabeth City boy who died Thursday at Albemarle Regional Hospital, remains under investigation by North Carolina health officials.

The first death to catch the attention of public health officials came Jan. 25 when 14-year-old David Tripp of Ypsilanti, Mich., died suddenly after experiencing flu-like symptoms.

So far, only a few of the Michigan children who died have tested positive for influenza, state health officials said. But public health authorities suspect it may have been a factor in several of the deaths.

Because some of the children, including David Tripp, became ill so suddenly and died without having had flu sophisticated tissue-sample tests, which can take weeks to conduct and don't always provide definite answers.

Despite assurances of health officials, many Hampton Roads parents are still worried. Some continued to take their children to hospital emergency rooms Saturday, fearful that seemingly normal illnesses could be more sinister.

In 15 hours, from midnight Friday to 3 p.m. Saturday, doctors and nurses at Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters saw about 200 emergency-room patients, said Becky Ceraul, the hospital's spokesperson. Normally, in 24 hours, they handle 120.

Ceraul estimated a several hour wait for each patient. By Saturday evening, doctors and nurses were still tending to the patients. Extra doctors and nurses have been called to help. Ceraul expects patients to crowd the emergency room today as well.

Ann C. Keffer, spokeswoman for Sentara a Healthcare, said that emergency rooms at hospitals on Saturday had only seen a slight decrease in the number of patients, compared to Friday's heavy crowd. Sentara Healthcare officials also called in extra staff at their hospitals. ''We're so busy that we're having a hard time keeping numbers straight,'' Keffer said.

The CDC's Harben echoed the advice of state health officials that parents take simple precautions: Children should wash their hands frequently with soap and warm water.

Parents should make sure that children cover their mouths when they cough. Children who are ill should stay home from school until they are feeling better.
''We advise parents to take the same precautions to protect their children that they would take to help prevent catching a cold, the flu, or any respiratory infection,'' said Suzanne Jenkins.

TOPICS: Announcements; Culture/Society; Extended News; Free Republic; Government; News/Current Events; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: cdc; children; death; flu; hampton; hamptonroads; portsmouth; richmond; sars; virginiabeach; warnings
Thought this should be a heads up to all families that precations mentioned above should be followed to nip this nasty bug in the bud.
1 posted on 02/24/2003 11:54:22 AM PST by oceanperch
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To: TXBubba
Hey Txbubba, here's more info on those children's death.
2 posted on 02/24/2003 12:04:15 PM PST by beaversmom
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To: oceanperch
Sheesh! I've got a three-year old prone to respiratory issues (asthma, etc.). We just finished an anti-biotic last night...
3 posted on 02/24/2003 12:12:43 PM PST by Corin Stormhands (free drstevej)
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To: Corin Stormhands
My grandson just spent last week here with a respiratory flu. He is ok, but the fever hung on far longer than what I saw in my children when they were young.
4 posted on 02/24/2003 12:16:10 PM PST by Miss Marple
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To: oceanperch
bump and bookmark
5 posted on 02/24/2003 12:21:43 PM PST by wasp69 (The time has come.......)
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To: beaversmom
Thanks for the heads up. Will definitely keep this under close watch.
6 posted on 02/24/2003 2:16:36 PM PST by TXBubba
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To: Miss Marple
My daughter (age 12) has a respiratory flu. Tomorrow will be day 7 with fever and cough. Prayers...
7 posted on 02/24/2003 6:16:13 PM PST by homeschool mama
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To: oceanperch
8 posted on 02/24/2003 6:42:22 PM PST by TBall
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To: homeschool mama
This is a wicked flu. My sister teaches at a parochial school and she said that they were sending kids home in droves. Lasts about a week. Very scary to read about this, I know. I am glad I didn't read about it until my grandson was on the mend.
9 posted on 02/24/2003 6:43:57 PM PST by Miss Marple
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To: Vic3O3; Terriergal
Sick little ones alert!!!
10 posted on 02/24/2003 6:48:34 PM PST by cavtrooper21 (Darn, last one had braces, now I have to stone out that notch....A troopers work is never done)
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To: Corin Stormhands
I understand my son also has asthema and has a trach.

He has been blessed not to catch the colds that go around our small community and he is very social with adults.

Never did catch colds as a kid and is now 24.

The hayfever and now asthema is bothersome.

He frets at m cleaning his stoma site and face several times a day but it is what keeps the skin healthy.

I worry about ever taking him to hospitals to visit or accompany me as that is where he is more likely to pick something up. Has in the past.

I think it is important that the adults wiping the kids face wash their own hands often.
11 posted on 02/24/2003 7:43:37 PM PST by oceanperch (Support Our Troops)
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To: oceanperch
12 posted on 02/24/2003 7:51:01 PM PST by GOPJ
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To: homeschool mama
"My daughter (age 12) has a respiratory flu. Tomorrow will be day 7 with fever and cough. Prayers..."

Our sons were sick with the respiratory virus earlier in February. I've never seen them sick so long in their lives. Typically neither one misses any school, or at most, one day. This time they were down with fever for 5 days (7 year old) and 7 days (9 year old). Absentee rates were running from 25-40%, depending on the school and classroom. Except for the high fever (103) on the second day of the illness, they weren't all that sick; it just hung on, and on, and on. I'm glad I didn't hear about the fatalities before they got well; scary.

13 posted on 02/26/2003 8:08:48 AM PST by Think free or die
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To: Think free or die
My daughter's temp is normal now (after 10 days) but the wet cough lingers. She's the 'ever ready bunny' so to have her down for the count is heartbreaking.

I'm glad your sons are doing better. :o)

14 posted on 02/26/2003 8:18:42 AM PST by homeschool mama
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To: homeschool mama
Sounds like she's on the mend too. It's hard to see them feeling miserable and missing out on fun activities. Our sons would have had a lot more fun with the big snow if they hadn't been home with fever when it was freshly fallen. I'm just grateful they're healthy and back at full strength now.
15 posted on 02/26/2003 9:12:42 AM PST by Think free or die
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To: oceanperch
My daughter, fifteen, has been sick since the weekend with low-grade fever and flu-like symptoms. Can't seem to shake colds this winter even with taking a multi-vitamin and extra vitamin C.
16 posted on 02/26/2003 9:18:11 AM PST by paws_and_whiskers
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To: paws_and_whiskers
Go with your gut regarding getting that Dr. appt.

The follow up story which would not paste and copy for me said CDC is calling it normal flu related deaths.

Depends on your veiw of the CDC inspectors. I tend to listen to what folks are saying in the community.

Here on the rural Oregon Coast there is a nasty bug that all of us never get bugs people are being hit with.

It (I have it) starts likea heyfever sore throat then head cold for two days then its like hey I beat it that was not so bad (thinking I am tough) by the afternoon that SOB comes back and bites then reapeats but the second round green phlegm starts and so far it seems to renew in the afternoon again that is as far as I am with it.

I will go back and get the link to that follow up story and ping you.
17 posted on 02/26/2003 11:29:13 AM PST by oceanperch (Support Our Troops)
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To: paws_and_whiskers; All
[WRIC TV] VIRGINIA - Mysterious Deaths Update
18 posted on 02/26/2003 11:53:00 AM PST by oceanperch (Support Our Troops)
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To: flutters; Domestic Church
Here is another one that should be revisited, perhaps.
19 posted on 04/29/2003 6:39:16 PM PDT by TaxRelief
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To: oceanperch
I wonder how many children this happens to every year?
20 posted on 04/29/2003 6:56:15 PM PDT by Nov3
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To: TaxRelief
Here is another one that should be revisited, perhaps

Yeesh, TR you gave me a heartattack with this before I checked the date. Payback for the MA jab? I guess we are even now.

21 posted on 04/29/2003 8:20:33 PM PDT by riri
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