Eight people were treated at Conroe Regional Medical Center for flu-like symptoms in a two to three week period. Four of them died, and the other four are still very ill in the hospital. It's this cluster that has Montgomery County health officials worried.
Dr. Mark Escott, Medical Director for the Montgomery County Hospital District, said, "Their symptoms are influenza-like -- fever, cough, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. "
The patients ages were 40-65 and some had underlying health problems. Experts haven't ruled out the flu but are awaiting results of another test. Then it may be other seasonal illnesses.
Dr. Hana El-Sahly, with the Baylor Influenza Center, explained, "There are other viruses that can cause flu-like symptoms during the season, like adenovirus , RSV , and para-influenza can give similar symptoms."
Since October, about 2,000 people in Montgomery County have had flu-like symptoms and none have died, except for those in this cluster at the Conroe Regional Medical Center.
"What we recommend for the public is to not be alarmed but to make sure that they wash their hands frequently, that if they cough or sneeze, they to do into a bent elbow to prevent the spread of the disease, " Dr. Escott said.
Until they can confirm what the illness is, health officials say to go ahead and get a flu shot, it's not too late. If you've already taken the shot and are feeling some of the symptoms, go ahead and take the anti-viral medicine, which can reduce the duration of the flu if you start them during the first 48 hours.
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