A case of the chills that turned out to be something much more sinister has seen doctors urge the public to monitor flu-like symptoms carefully.
Gold Coast teen Liam Enese – fit and healthy at the beginning of last week – died four days later from pneumonia, developed as a complication of the flu.
Doctors on the Gold Coast have described the city as being in the grips of a “very significant influenza epidemic”, with nearly 1200 flu notifications this year and 113 hospitalisations.
Parents have been warned to act quickly on signs of the infection, which can have deadly complications if left untreated.
Gold Coast Medical Association president Dr Stephen Withers told the Gold Coast Bulletin it was a bad year for flu, particularly the B strain.
“People have been extraordinarily sick and in both the adult and paediatric population it’s really taken a big toll on them,” he said.
Unlike the A strain of the influenza virus, the B strain only infects humans. It is usually less severe than the A strain – however it can have severe consequences in some cases.
Gold Coast resident Shawna Hinde was struck down by a severe case of the flu last week, eventually diagnosed with influenza B after she was hospitalised.
“Shawna was still going to school but on Thursday morning getting ready she said, ‘I really don’t feel well’,” her mother told the Gold Coast Bulletin.
“We were standing in the classroom and she was leaning on the door and she slid down the doorway and passed out.
“She went down again at the doctor’s and called me Sunday morning after she passed out on the toilet floor.
“It’s really horrible. One minute they’re OK and next their temperature is through the roof.”
Flu symptoms include a fever, cough, sore throat, headaches and chills.