Initial testing of two of four family members in Lusby, three of whom have died, suggests that that the serious lung infection suffered by all four was a complication of seasonal flu. A fourth family member remains hospitalized at Washington Hospital Center and is improving.
Samples have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta for further testing.
These cases of serious lung infection were isolated to a single family and there are currently no other affected individuals. Local healthcare providers are not reporting any significant increase in patients with flu-like symptoms.
The illnesses in these family members began with an 81-year-old Lusby woman who developed respiratory symptoms at her home beginning on or about February 23, 2012. She was cared for at home by three of her children, a son and two daughters. The caregivers developed similar respiratory symptoms on or about February 28, 2012. The mother died at home on March 1, 2012. Following her death the three children were hospitalized. Subsequently the 58-year-old son and a 56-year-old daughter died.
As always, we recommend that everyone take routine precautions to prevent the spread of respiratory infections including hand washing and limiting contact with sick individuals. Those with flu-like symptoms, who develop cough, fever or sore throat, should be evaluated by their healthcare provider. Residents who have not received a seasonal flu vaccine are urged to get one from their healthcare provider or by calling Calvert County Health Department at 410-535-5400, ext. 349.