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Flu virus has taken four lives in Southern Nevada

Flu virus spreading in Southern Nevada
Flu virus spreading in Southern Nevada
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LAS VEGAS (KSNV My News 3) -- If you haven't caught it yourself, no doubt you know co-workers or family members who have.

This nasty flu bug is spreading fast.

Four people have died in Southern Nevada from the virus this season.

According to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu is now widespread in 46 states.

Nationwide, flu complications have claimed the lives of 19 children, bringing the total number of pediatric deaths this season to 45.

Health officials at University Medical Center say children are the most at risk. They say they have seen an increase in flue patients, especially children, in recent days. Hospital emergency rooms are so crowded, some patients are being turned away.

Jett Ray, 7, saw a doctor Friday instead of attending school. Despite getting a flu shot, Jett has a high fever and aches. His father brought him to the doctor for some relief.

"So you had a fever last night. Umm," says Dr. Nudrat Nauman, a pediatrician. "Open your mouth for me? Lots of drainage huh?"

Nauman said he may have the flu, given his symptoms. She prescribes Tamiflu for Jett.

"It attacks the influenza virus," the doctor says.

She says she has seen an increase in children coming in with symptoms like Jett's.

"In the past generally when there's a pre-dominance of this strain the season has been particularly bad," the doctor says. "There have been more hospitalizations and more sickness in individuals who got it."

The CDC has warned that this year's flu vaccine may not be as effective as in year's past. The problem: A strain of the flu virus mutated this year.

"This year it's been found that two-thirds of the virus strain tested at CDC is genetically different from the H3N2 that has been included in the vaccine this year," Nauman says.

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Her advice: "If they're sick or their child is sick, it's very important to stay home. Avoid contact and exposure to other patients."

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