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Houston Flu Cases on Decline as School Mourns Teacher's Death

Houston Flu Cases on Decline as School Mourns Teacher's Death
Illustration by TimVickers

We have a lot of flu this year. But you probably already know that.

Although exact numbers are hard to come by since hospitals only voluntarily provide information on flu cases, we do know that there were 132 positive results found this flu season in Houston's bureau of lab services. A total of 110 of those positives came from a 2009 H1N1 swine flu strain.

Talk about retro viruses spreading fear one sneeze at a time. But reports suggest as many as 16 deaths in the greater Houston area this flu season. And a sudden death this week that may be flu-related grabbed headlines.

A Pearland High School teacher died after going to a doctor to deal with her flu. She collapsed at home following her doctor visit, a family friend told the Houston Chronicle.

Multiple flu-related deaths have been reported around the state, with as many at five locally, three connected to the H1N1 virus.

Four people with flu-related symptoms died in December in Montgomery County's Conroe Regional Medical Center .  

Deadly flu strains are nothing to joke about, so I don't blame you if you're feeling a lot more uneasy about that co-worker who keeps coughing behind you.

Still, it's not a cause for panic, according to local and state health officials since flu activity has dropped in the last week, but is more severe with people requiring trips to the doctor to deal with their symptoms.

"We see the flu every year and while the flu can cause severe illness and death in some people, the vast majority of people will recover," Tracy Obey, the Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services spokesperson told Hair Balls.

"Of course people who have underlying health conditions such as asthma or compromised immune systems, those people are under greater threat of illness and should contact their health provider," Obey said. Several of this year's victims of flu-related illness reportedly suffered from heart disease and obesity.

Flu activity in the Houston area is considered moderate in the latest weekly report from the Houston Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control. Still, as a whole, Texas is on high alert for flu infections.

Medical officials have yet to complete the report on teacher Tracie Burrough's exact cause and manner of death.


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