A 27-year-old fitness trainer has been killed by the swine flu, making him one of at least 20 to die of the virus in the Dallas-Fort Worth area which has been hit particularly hard this flu season.
Jeremy Westerman, of Collin County, fell ill with the flu around Christmas with symptoms of nausea and lethargy but did not seek treatment.
According to his parents, he became violently ill on January 2 and went to bed that night with a high fever and died in his sleep.
Autopsy reports revealed this week that Jeremy had contracted the swine flu – a less common strain of the flu that has contributed to the devastation across the US this record-breaking season.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area has been experiencing high flu activity as Jeremy is one of at least 20 other flu-related deaths while others have had limbs amputated.
Heather Holland, 33, was a Weatherford second grade teacher and mother-of-two who died of the flu on Sunday after contracting influenza Type B and developing pneumonia.
Joei Smith, 33, of Dallas, is a gym fanatic who got his flu shot but developed sepsis and pneumonia and suffered kidney failure after contracting the virus.
He is set to have all of his fingers and toes amputated due to septic shock.
Joei’s case came just a day after married father-of-two Brian Herndon, 51, revealed he was undergoing multiple amputations due to the flu.
This flu season is putting record-breaking numbers of people in the hospital and is on track to becoming one of the worst flu seasons in recent history.
The CDC revealed today that 10 more children died of the flu, bringing the total number of pediatric deaths to 63.
Jeremy’s parents Diana and Marty Westerman described their son as the picture of health who loved to exercise and help others train.
He did suffer from an adrenal insufficiency, meaning his adrenal glands did not produce enough hormones, which is believed to have contributed to the severity of the virus.
‘He was in such good health. He was a trainer. He worked out all the time. And for it to take him like it did, it’s absolutely terrifying,’ his mother told Fox 4.
‘I just felt like it was just… like a senseless death,’ she added.
It is unclear if Jeremy got his flu shot but he did not see a doctor for his symptoms after Diana said she begged her son to go.
An autopsy report released by the medical examiner this week showed that Jeremy had the H1N1 virus, also known as the swine flu.
The swine flu caused a global pandemic in 2009, killing about 200,000 people.
Speaking on Friday, acting CDC director Dr Anne Schuchat said: ‘Influenza-like illnesses are now as high as we observed at the peak of the 2009 pandemic.’
H1N1 is the less-common of the flu strains hitting the US as the H3N2 is dominating this season.
Dr Schuchat said the CDC continues to recommend getting vaccinated with this year’s flu shot, even if you’ve had the flu this season.
Health officials warn that you can still fall ill with another strain of the virus even if you have already been infected with the flu this season.
This was the case of 58-year-old mother and grandmother Angie Barwise who was killed by influenza Type B last weekend after recovering from influenza Type A a mother earlier.
The vaccine that is 34 percent effective against the H3N2 strain but offers more protection against the H1N1 strain and B viruses that have begun infecting people.