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Five flu-related deaths in St. Joseph County sparks concerns

NOW: Five flu-related deaths in St. Joseph County sparks concerns

MISHAWAKA, Ind. --More than 600,000 cases of the flu nationwide. That scary statistic, coming from the Centers for Disease Control.

But what's scary to many, is how it's hitting right here in Michiana.

"He came home and started to complain of a sore throat. He said his stomach was hurting a little bit and that he had a headache," says Sidney Thompson. "The next morning at 5 o'clock, he came into my room, and was burning up with a fever."

It was a scary 24 hours for the Mishawaka mom.

Her son, Nolan, showing the typical signs of influenza.

"His fever was 103," she explains. 

Thompson sprung into action, calling his doctor's office.

"The rapid test came back positive within 15 min. [It said] Influenza A," she says. "I was scared, because of how many people have ended up dying from it."

That strain of the flu, the H3N2, is responsible for at least 79 deaths in the Hoosier State.

Five flu-related deaths already reported in St. Joseph County alone, as of January 13. 

The kicker?

"He did get a flu shot. He got it and still ended up with the flu," says Thompson.

She thinks, he may have gotten sick from school.

While she alerted the teachers and school, but Thompson believes, the school should have been doing more to prevent the spread of the virus. 

"The school should let other people know. Especially if someone tested positive for influenza, now, they're at such great risk for it," she explains. 

On Facebook, parents shared worries about sending their children to school, for fear of contracting influenza. 

Thompson is one of them. 

"Before Nolan got influenza, I probably would have been like, 'oh, he has a high fever, I'd just go back and forth from Motrin and Tylenol, and let's give a few days," she says. "But with how bad it's been lately, I'm glad I didn't wait, because it's better safe than sorry."

ABC57 News reached out to PHM schools, where Nolan is enrolled. 

The Coordinator for School Health Services responded with the following statement.

"We are seeing typical amount of absences for this time of year. We need to report to the local health department if our absentee rate reaches 20% in any school.  We have not had to do that, it is difficult to track unless parents report that they have an official physician diagnosis of influenza confirmed by a nasal swab."

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