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Girl who died diagnosed with common flu

Carson City health officials are cautioning residents against hysteria in light of the Tuesday night death of a sixth-grade girl who’d been diagnosed with Influenza B.

“This is the same flu we have every year. It’s not different,” said Dr. Brett Eisenmesser, emergency room physician at Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center.

Since the first of the year, Carson City has had 36 confirmed cases of Influenza.



Dustin Boothe, disease control and prevention program manager for the Carson City Health Department, said the number of cases comes from the hospital and Med Care on South Carson Street, both of which have an agreement with the health department to report positive test results.

The number of actual influenza cases in the city is likely much higher. The majority of flu sufferers do not seek medical attention and recover without problems, said Boothe.



“You have individuals who get sick and don’t seek any medical attention and you have individuals who get sick and see the doctor and the doctor doesn’t order any tests and just treats it,” he said.

Eisenmesser said he has not seen an increase in flu cases this year in his emergency room, though nationwide the Centers for Disease Control is reporting there has been an increase in influenza.

According to the CDC, 36,000 people a year die from influenza, making it the leading cause of death in the United States from a vaccine-preventable disease. About 200,000 people are hospitalized with the flu every year.

Nationwide last year, 70 pediatric patients ” those ages 18 and younger ” succumbed to influenza.

Carson City School District Superintendent Mary Pierczynski said Carson Middle School, where Kyra Conway attended sixth grade, sent home letters with parents telling them of Kyra’s death and offering tips on prevention.

Today, all 8,000 students in the district will be sent home with a brochure of information from the CDC explaining influenza and prevention.

In light of Kyra’s death, and the increase in awareness on the potential deadly disease, the middle school is hosting a flu clinic for Carson City students from 2:30 p.m.-5 p.m.

“The cost is $15 and if a child doesn’t have the ability to pay, they will be given the shot anyway, but we are asking parents to accompany kids,” said Pierczynski.

A second flu clinic will take place at the Carson Mall from 1-5 p.m. Tuesday for $25.

Carson Tahoe Regional Healthcare also provides flu shots for $25 between 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. For more information or an appointment (775) 445-8176.

“Annual flu season usually runs from October to as late as May,” said Dr. Vicky Fogelman, director of Carson City Health and Human Services.

“A seasonal flu shot is recommended for most people over the age of six months to help provide protection from often debilitating flu symptoms. You can pass the flu along to others beginning one day before your symptoms develop and up to five days after you become sick.”


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