James Island woman dies from flu complications
The first local death caused by complications from the flu happened Sunday on James Island as the fatality toll continued to climb in an influenza season that is hitting early and hard.
The elderly woman who tested positive for flu died one day after complaining of not feeling well, the Charleston County coronerís office reported.
Through Saturday, an additional 15 flu-related fatalities have been reported in South Carolina since late September, according to new figures released Monday by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.
The first death, a Barnwell County child, was reported in late November. Where the other deaths happened is not listed in the new DHEC figures.
The James Island woman, 73, was otherwise healthy, said Chief Deputy Coroner Bobbi Jo OíNeal. On Saturday, the woman felt weak and dizzy. She passed away at home on Sunday, OíNeal said.
The woman tested positive for Type A flu, the predominant strain of influenza seen this year. OíNeal said she did not know if the woman had received a flu vaccination. For now, the coronerís office would not identify the woman, she said.
Doctors office visits for flu-related illness are well-above last year, particularly in the coastal region. More than 32,000 people in South Carolina have tested positive for influenza from Sept. 30 to Dec. 29 using a diagnostic tool called the rapid flu test that provides results in 15 minutes. In comparison, less than 300 state residents were positive for the same test at the same time last year, according to DHEC.