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Flu causes 3 more deaths in southern Utah


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St. George— Three more people have died from influenza for the 2013-2014 flu season, according to the Southwest Utah Public Health Department. Health experts said the victims were younger than 64 and were in fairly good health. They were living in the southwest region of Utah.

A total of five people in Utah have now died from the virus. According to the Utah Department of Health, 369 have been hospitalized.

Kerry Collett, 50, spent 14 days in the hospital after developing flu-like symptoms; 12 of which were in the ICU. She said she was intubated the first night and sedated for much of her treatment.

Doctors weren't sure she would recover.

"The doctor today as I was going to see (him) said, 'I'm glad you're still alive,'" Collett said.

Collett will be on an oxygen tank for the next 10 days — at the very least. Doctors said that she didn't just get the flu — it developed into acute respiratory failure.

"I was not getting any oxygen at all," she said.

Doctors said that most viruses tend to have a bigger impact on the very young or very old, but many of the patients with the flu are young adults.

"They're younger than we traditionally see in flu deaths," said Southwest Utah Public Health Department Dr. David Blodgett. "All of them are younger than 64. Usually, that age range is not where we see any of the deaths. It's also true that they were fairly healthy."

Keeping healthy is also on Collett's priority list. She has a glass-making business to run. She said her two week hiatus has cost her over $300 in sales.

To prevent a shortage next year, Collett said she plans to get the flu shot.

"I have a feeling my doctor is going to insist on it," she said.

The flu vaccine is still available, and health officials say it's not too late to get vaccinated.


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Devon Dolan


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