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Flu death toll rising in Washington; 5-year-old Pierce County girl among fatalities

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TACOMA — The Pierce County medical examiner has confirmed that a 5-year-old girl died from the flu.

The child’s mother simply thought her daughter had a bad cold but died just days later.

So far, 24 people have died from the flu across the state; ten people have died from the flu in Pierce County.

The 5-year-old girl, Scarlet Taylor, loved to sing and she was full of life. But last month her mother, Rebecca, said the school nurse told her to pick up Scarlet.

Rebecca took Scarlet home to recover.

“She was snuggled up in a little ball, she said. “I could hear breathing and it was this rattle noise. She kind of looked at me in sort of a daze.”

But then Scarlet’s symptoms became worse. She was rushed to the hospital with a fever of 103 degrees but she didn’t survive.

Medical examiners found the H3N2 flu strain in Scarlet’s body.

Her mother now shares a warning with other parents.

“Go with your gut,” said Rebecca. “Don’t be afraid to be that overreacting mother or father or caregiver.”

This year’s flu season is packing a major punch. So far at least 24 people have died statewide, but most cases are on the west side of Washington state.

Last year, 10 people died of flu in Pierce County – and it's not yet know if this year’s flu season has peaked.

“Last year there were 10 flu-related deaths through the entire season, which lasted into the springtime,” said Edie Jeffers with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. “It’s difficult to know when the flu season is peaking until we can look back.”

Little scarlet did not get the flu shot but it may not have protected her against the H3N2 strain.

Heath officials are still urging everyone to get the vaccine that’s available right now.

“This year’s vaccine thus far has not been the best match for that strain but it’s still a means of protection,” said Jeffers.

Tacoma schools said so far there have not been any spikes in absenteeism.

Bottom line is if you think you’re sick, just stay home and give your doctor a call.

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15 comments

  • teacher

    so, that poor little girl was sent to school sick, and was sick for over a month, but the connotation of the article suggests that she became sick, and died a few days afterwards. excellent fear-mongering q13

  • lil me

    She was not sick for a month. This event occurred last month. The mother picked her up from school because she was sick and two days after that she passed away. This is not fear mongering (at least in this case). The flu can be very deadly!

    • teacher

      Actually now clear either way. But, sitting on a story for a month to control public rhetoric is exactly what fear-mongering is. The US averages nearly 33 vaccines per person, per life, and our infant mortality, lifespan, life quality are all near the bottom of industrialized countries. And, if you remove the high infant mortality from the lifespan average of colonial American, we have hardly gained a handful of years

      • Stef

        She died last month, her death was just now ruled from the flu, hence why it’s just now coming out in the news. Are you really a teacher?!

    • teacher

      People do not trust the FDA when they say pesticides are safe, but they trust the FDA ‘oragnic’ label; we have public outcries against police, but do not want to be responsible for our own safety; we think all politicians are liars but have no problem letting the government ‘okay’ and make decisions about our personal health. . .

  • Kevin Bond (@Cancerkiller543)

    Nobody will ever get sick, let alone die from any flu strain, once everybody (kids and adults) start doing the WVD – Any flu strain is not a problem at all – I got the power (like a God) to wipe out Flues, Colds, Ebola, AIDS, Pertussis, West Nile, Cholera, TB, etc. in just a few days – I got my WVD – The Weapon of Virus Destruction – Just an exercise for a minute a day – The cure and prevention of any diseases, known on Earth for more than 2 million years – Infections, Cancers, Diabetes and Strokes – Even Tibetans don’t know how to stay absolutely healthy all the time – The price of the WVD for the whole world is 5 billion EURO/BUCKS/BP.

  • Leslie

    I don’t want to sound harsh – but Why didn’t she take her to the hospital sooner??! I am a single mom and I know if one of my children was that sick – I would not wait 2.5 days before “rushing” her to the hospital! It’s almost neglect to me.. So so sad 😞

    • Shirley

      Taking your Child to the hospital EVERY time they are sick is not necessarily a wise choice (unless they have certain symptoms such as high fever, difficulty breathing, sever dehydration) and most likely would have made no difference in this case. When you bring a child in to the E.R. with the flu (assuming vital signs are normal) they send you home and tell you to give them fluids and have them stay in bed for a few days. This poor girl didn’t have a high fever or other emergency symptoms. Her mother did take her to the E.R. when her fever spiked. Sometimes symptoms can change very quickly and there is nothing a parent can do.