Flu most serious in different age group than normal

COLUMBIA, Mo. - One strain of flu is proving to be deadly in Mid-Missouri, according to medical sources.

These sources tell ABC 17 News the flu is responsible for multiple deaths in our area.  The Missouri State Health Department and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) have not been able to confirm this because of the holiday.

The CDC did put out a warning about the severity of this flu.

Health officials said the majority of flu cases seen in Missouri have been a strain similar to H1N1 from 2009.  This year's flu is different, though, because doctors said it's been hitting otherwise healthy young to middle-aged people the hardest.

Dr. Scott Schultz at Providence Urgent Care said he's seen a huge increase in these flu cases in just the last week.

"We had five or 10 cases just the other day, and we only expect that to increase when the students come back," Schultz said.

This increase also means more flu-related hospitalizations, intensive care unit treatments, and deaths, according to the CDC.

This aggressive strain is being blamed for killing these young to middle-aged people.

"This is different from typical influenza, which usually hits extreme ages like very young or old people," Schultz said. "Influenza can cause an inflammatory response in the body that will cause the body to go downhill, and there's no way to stop it sometimes, so it leads to death."

Schultz pointed out that there are other bugs going around Mid-Missouri that resemble the flu, but with a few key differences.

"A cold is going to give you a runny or stuffy nose, a low-grade fever, and some minor body aches.  Influenza will give you a high fever, muscle aches, chills, and sweating, and you won't want to do anything," Schultz said.

He recommends going to the doctor if you are feeling sick at all.

And while it is still early in flu season, Schultz and the CDC is recommending anyone who hasn't gotten a flu shot yet to do so now.

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