Health officials: Death of Cobb County boy who had flu-like symp - CBS46 News

Health officials: Death of Cobb County boy who had flu-like symptoms "on our radar"

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Eli Snook (source: Facebook) Eli Snook (source: Facebook)

Georgia health officials are looking into whether the flu is to blame for the death of a 5-year-old Cobb County boy.

According to a spokeswoman for Cobb & Douglas Public Health, the case of Eli Snook is on their radar. Snook died Saturday after getting an infection in his brain.

His parents say doctors told them his immune system was weak. He had been sick with flu-like symptoms. The state’s first official flu-related child death happened Tuesday. Kira Molina, 15, of Newnan, died after her liver failed.

According to health officials, Molina had Influenza-A, which is the dominant H3-N2 strain – the one that’s so potent.

It’s why the Coweta County Coroner Richard Hawk said it’s not too late to get the flu shot.

“A lot of people are always combatant that they don't want the flu shots,” said Hawk. “In this situation, it could keep you out the hospital. It might even keep you from seeing me if you live here in this county."

So how does the flu end up killing an otherwise healthy person? According to Scientific American, the body essentially kills itself trying to heal itself. Sometimes the immune system’s reaction is too strong, destroying too much tissue.

Dr. Patrick O’Neal of the Georgia Department of Health believes some people might be more susceptible to the flu today than say 20 years ago, before the regular use of hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes.

“We may indeed have not allowed significant immune reactions to have previously occurred so that when one does come across an agent like a flu virus, potentially, there could be less ability for that person to respond,” O’Neal said.

Health officials are urging people to wash their hands often the old-fashioned way with soap and water. If you’re sick, they recommend you stay at home.

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