A 58-year-old grandmother who beat the flu once this season has been killed by another strain of the virus.
Angie Barwise, of Fort Worth, Texas, was diagnosed with influenza Type A three days after Christmas and recovered after being prescribed Tamiflu.
But the grandmother-of-13 fell ill again just weeks later and was diagnosed with influenza Type B, another strain of the virus that has just begun to emerge this season, which led to pneumonia and sepsis, killing her on Saturday.
Angie is just one of the flu cases to come out of Dallas-Fort Worth, an area that has been hit particularly hard this season with more than 20 deaths, leaving others with amputated limbs and fighting for their lives against the deadly virus devastating the US this record-breaking season.
Angie’s family said they took her flu diagnosis seriously both times.
After Christmas she tested positive for influenza Type A along with bronchitis and step throat.
She likely had the most-common H3N2 strain, dubbed the ‘Aussie flu’, which has been dominating this year and was responsible for the devastating 2014/15 flu season.
Doctors prescribed Angie Tamiflu and other antibiotics and she was feeling better within days, her husband of 17 years Greg told Fox 4.
However, exactly a month later she fell ill again and was diagnosed with influenza Type B.
Greg said her fever was difficult to control.
‘Every four and a half hours, we’d have to give her medicine to get the fever down,’ he said.
Angie took Tamiflu once again but when her symptoms persisted for two days, Greg took her to the hospital where tests were done and they were sent home.
The next day she was back in the hospital after blood test results revealed she was suffering from pneumonia and sepsis, both secondary infections from the flu.
That Saturday, just two days after being admitted to the hospital, Angie died.
‘I left for just a few minutes – I thought everything was going to be okay,’ Greg told CBS DFW. ‘I got a phone call that she had just passed.’
‘We’re devastated,’ Greg said. ‘She’s a wonderful wife, a wonderful mother and wonderful daughter.’
Angie’s brother Brian Smith took to Facebook to warn everyone about how deadly the flu can be.
He wrote: ‘My sister should have not died from the flu. If you have a friend or family member with the flu, it needs to be taken very seriously.’
The Dallas-Fort Worth area has been hit particularly hard this flu season as Angie’s flu diagnosis and death is not isolated.
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 comes 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 were killed by the flu this week, bringing the total number of pediatric deaths to 63 this year.
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.’
Health officials warn that we may not have reached the peak yet as the H1N1 strain and B viruses, like the one that killed Angie and Heather, are still emerging.
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.
She said that like in the case of Angie, you can still fall ill with another strain of the virus even if you have already been infected with the flu this season.
It is unclear if Angie got her flu shot either before or after her first bout with the flu.
The vaccine is 34 percent effective against the H3N2 strain but offers more protection against the H1N1 strain and B viruses.
There are two B viruses prevalent in the US this season: Yamagata, known as the ‘Japanese flu’ and the Victoria.
Only those who receive the ‘four strain’ flu vaccine are protected against the Yamagata strain.
The Victoria B virus is included in the ‘three strain’ vaccine.