The Calvert County Health Department (CCHD) has posted a new update as of 8pm EST, March 6th on their website giving us the latest information on the cluster of 3 deaths in one family from a respiratory infection.
While preliminary testing indicates that the son and daughter were infected with an unspecified influenza A virus, a bacterial co-infection is mentioned as a complicating factor (some media outlets are calling it staph).
Preliminary Testing Indicates Influenza
Director of Communications
Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
BALTIMORE (March 6, 2012) – The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) is working in conjunction with the Calvert County Health Department to investigate a cluster of respiratory illnesses in Calvert County. As the Calvert County Health Department has reported, DHMH is aware of four cases in adults from a single family with severe respiratory illness; three have died. At this time, no other similar clusters have been reported from Calvert County or elsewhere in the state.
The cause for these illnesses is under investigation and testing is being conducted by the DHMH Laboratories Administration. Preliminary testing at the DHMH Laboratories Administration indicates that two of the fatal cases had influenza, and these cases may have been complicated by bacterial co-infections. Bacterial co-infection is a known complication of influenza infection. Additional testing is being conducted for all cases.
DHMH recommends all individuals continue to take the following precautions during influenza season: hand washing, staying home if sick, and staying up to date with influenza vaccinations. DHMH also reminds Maryland residents with influenza-like illness (fever and sore throat or cough) to consult their healthcare providers for evaluation. DHMH is not recommending any additional measures at this time. The Department will provide additional updates as more information becomes available.
There have been no new cases reported as of 8:00 p.m.
While three deaths in one family is the sort of thing that is bound to attract a lot of media attention, so far there is nothing here to suggest that anything exotic or particularly alarming is going on.
We will, of course, be watching for more definitive test results over the coming days.
But if nothing else, this is a sober reminder that even during a relatively quiet flu season, that influenza can pose a serious threat.