Coweta County coroner: 15-year-old dies of flu

Doctors say flu season can last through May.

A 15-year-old Coweta County teen has died of the flu, according the the local coroner.

A county official didn’t identify the teen, but confirmed her death to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Richard Hawk, Coweta County coroner, said the girl died Tuesday morning at an Atlanta hospital. It’s not clear how long she had been ill with the flu. He said there did not appear to be underlying health issues.

The state department of public health could not confirm a pediatric death. If someone died today, a department spokeswoman said, they likely don’t have the medical records needed to confirm it yet.

This flu season is one of the worst in nearly a decade, say health officials. Throughout metro Atlanta, emergency rooms have seen a surge in patients.

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From Jan. 14 to Jan. 20, there were 115 hospitalizations in metro Atlanta due to influenza, up dramatically from 40 hospitalizations during the prior week.

CONCORD, CA - JANUARY 14:  Syringes filled with influenza vaccination are seen at a Walgreens Pharmacy on January 14, 2014 in Concord, California.  Public health officials are encouraging residents to get flu shots as an aggressive strain of the H1N1 "swine flu" has killed 15 people in the San Francisco Bay Area.  (Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Credit: Justin Sullivan

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Credit: Justin Sullivan

The Georgia Department of Public Health reported 25 confirmed influenza-related deaths in the state. Of those who died, all were over the age of 50 with nearly half over the age of 65.

There have been several other deaths among younger patients across the nation. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 37 influenza-associated pediatric deaths in the United States.

For instance, children with diabetes are especially vulnerable during flu season because it can often lead to diabetes ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition that occurs when there is not enough insulin in the body, according to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.  Flu can put added stress on a child’s body, which can affect sugar levels and increase the chance of serious health complications.

Recently, the family of a 7-year-old from Southwest Virginia said the boy died from influenza.

The family said on a GoFundMePage  that  he"passed away from the flu and strep throat,” according to CBS News.

Alexis Stevens contributed to this article.