Woman dies from the flu as cases surge statewide

Posted at 1:07 AM, Jan 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-25 00:30:07-05

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A St. Stephen woman passed away Tuesday from the flu, according to her husband.

Paula Breck-Bordeaux, 42, of St. Stephen, passed away Tuesday from double pneumonia and the flu, her husband Hank said.

“It started off with a stomach virus,” he said. “She couldn’t hold anything down… and then she went to the doctors.”

Bordeaux said his wife’s flu and strep test came back as normal.

She then started to feel a bit better, but Hank said by Friday that had changed.

“Her breathing started to get a little bit heavier so it seems like it may have started that day,” Hank said. “From what the doctors told me, the type of flu she had can hit you within an hour."

That strain was Influenza A.

"That's the most common one, and that's the one that makes you the sickest as well," said Dr. David Wright, M.D. with HealthFirst.

DHEC reports more than 11,000 cases of the strain from Jan. 14-20.

At HealthFirst clinics around the Lowcountry, doctors are writing up to 100 prescriptions for Tamiflu every day because of the number of people coming in with flu-like symptoms. However, some pharmacies may see shortages.

“During the surge times the pharmacies can run out of Tamiflu and certain types of cough syrups,” Wright said. “You just have to call around. Sometimes the pharmacist will be able to refer you to a place."

Wright added they’ve had patients call back stating they weren’t able to get their prescriptions filled.

A spokeswoman for the Center for Disease Control said while the total reported national supply of influenza antiviral drugs should be sufficient to meet even high seasonal demands, “some manufacturers are reporting delays in filling orders.”

The CDC has also updated its antiviral drug supply web page with manufacturer information for inquiries related to antiviral purchases/availability.

A flu report released by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control Wednesday shows nearly 14,000 flu cases statewide from Jan. 14-20.

While you may receive treatment for the flu, Wright also wants you to be aware of the secondary bacterial infections which could arise.

"For some reason they get sicker 3-7 days after they've started treatment with Tamiflu,” he said of patients under treatment who suffer a secondary bacterial infection. “They'll need to seek medical attention, that could be the life-threatening issue."

While the Bordeaux family still isn’t sure how Paula contracted the flu so quickly, they do want people to know how serious this flu season is and ways potentially avoid it.

"Even if there's a small percentage that the flu shot might work, a little bit is better than nothing," Hank said.

Hank said the family is trying to cope with Paula’s loss, and said she loved her family and was a fan of jewelry and arts and crafts.

Paula leaves behind five children.

So far this flu season, through Jan. 20, there have been 46 flu-related deaths across the state. Ten of those have happened in the Lowcountry.

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