News

Flu Kills Four New Jersey Children, Wreaks Havoc In Hospitals

Phamacist Prakash Deshpande injects Judith Echevarria with influenza vaccine at a Manhattan pharmacy - Jan. 14, 2013 (credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Phamacist Prakash Deshpande injects Judith Echevarria with influenza vaccine at a Manhattan pharmacy – Jan. 14, 2013 (credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

CBS New York (con't)

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HACKENSACK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - Influenza is running rampant. It hit early and hard and it’s showing no signs of letting up.

In New Jersey, the flu has killed four children. Three of them had prior health complications, including a 12-year-old girl in Bergen County, a 14-year-old boy in Ocean County, and an 8-month-old boy in Camden. A 14-year-old boy in Westfield did not.

According to The Record, Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack and The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood have had to close their emergency rooms intermittently because of a flood of flu patients.

Dr. Gary Monk, Director of Clinical Virology at HUMC, said it is not too late to get a flu vaccination.

“This is the time to do so because with cold temperatures, we’re huddling again and we’re planning some Super Bowl parties and get-togethers where we’re packing the house. So we want to make sure that we don’t bring the uninvited guests,” he told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams.

Compounding the problems, the symptoms associated with this year’s strain – H3N2 – seem to be more severe with some patients developing pneumonia.

“[Patients] with signs of symptoms that continue to linger should be managed sometimes, appropriately, with antibiotics because bacteria like to follow the viral infection. They like to get down deeper into the respiratory tract,” Monk said.

The Record also reported parents are having a difficult time finding the liquid form of Tamiflu.

Have you gotten a flu shot? Sound off below.