Two young moms among latest flu victims as hospitals feel strain

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Karlie Illg Slaven of Hendricks County, Indiana, and Tandy Harmon of Gersham, Oregon, both died from the flu. 

Two young mothers are among the latest victims of this season’s deadly flu outbreak. Tandy Harmon of Gersham, Oregon, and Karlie Illg Slaven of Hendricks County, Indiana, were both mothers of two. Their families said they were healthy adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the number of states with high levels of flu activity jumped from nine on December 16 to 32 on January 13.

The aggressive flu season is causing all sorts of problems across the country. Hospitals like the Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center in Florida are being inundated with new patients and medicine to treat the flu is becoming harder to find. Beds are even being set up in conference rooms to accommodate all the new patients, reports CBS News’ Manuel Bojorquez. 

“This is probably the worst flu season I’ve seen in the last ten years,” Dr. Jaime Snarski said.

She says the volume of new flu patients has put the Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center at full capacity.

“And for some reason these strains are hitting young healthy people a little bit harder than in past years, and I’m not quite sure we know why that is yet,” Snarski said.   

Just last week, the state saw 52 new community outbreaks, bringing the seasonal total to 159 – the highest in nearly a decade. But according to federal health officials, Florida is not even among the 24 states seeing the highest level of viral activity. Still, parts of the sunshine state are struggling to treat the virus.

“Some pharmacies have been running low on the medication Tamiflu,” Dr. Sat Virdee said.

Despite the shortage, the pediatrician says there are other options.

“The preferred route I would say would be vaccination and we have plenty of vaccine supply,” Virdee said.

All three of the children who have died from the flu in Florida, including 12-year-old Dylan Winnick, were not vaccinated.

His stepfather Mike Medwin says the family is stunned.

“No indications. No warnings. Just common cold. That’s what’s so scary about it,” he said.

In one Florida school district, 20 percent of students are reportedly out sick, prompting officials to cancel classes today so they can scrub down the campus. 

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