The flu virus is making more victims in the US as the influenza virus is widespread in all the States.
How does the flu virus kill?
Doctors say that not the flu virus itself is the culprit. Instead, there are three main ways someone who has flu can die:
- Aggravation of the already installed conditions – Those suffering from heart conditions or respiratory problems are prone to die if not properly treating the flu.
- Cytokine reaction – A rare condition characterized by a powerful but incorrect immune reaction.
- A concomitant infection with another germ such as bacteria
How fast can a flu virus kill?
There is no exact measurement in this regard. For instance, during the ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic in 1918, some people have died within hours of infection. Doctors explained that was possible by secondary infections with bacteria due to the poor conditions of living of those times.
However, every person’s immune system is reacting differently. If for an individual the flu symptoms may pass without much trouble, for another the flu must be treated in the hospital.
On the other hand, the immune system itself is the culprit in some flu-related deaths. The immune system is designed to trigger a response against the virus. This response is actually dictating the symptoms related to the virus infection.
If the immune system response is too strong, the cytokines which are produced to combat the infection may damage the body’s cells. Those cytokines may attack the cells in the respiratory tract which may lead to death.
Victims of the flu virus in the US
A 21-year old bodybuilder, a 4-year old boy from Ohio, and a 10-year old boy from Connecticut are the latest victims of the flu virus on the US territory.
Another 21 people died in Maine.
In total, this season’s flu epidemy killed 20 children so far, which is far lesser than the number of the last year – 110 children killed by the flu virus in the US. Also, there are estimated around 30,000 adult victims. However, these are just estimative numbers as the CDC is not exactly counting flu-related deaths in the adult population.
Every year, between 12,000 and 56,000 people die due to the flu virus and 700,000 people are hospitalized.