The family of a Michigan man who died of the flu is hoping that his death will serve as a warning to others.
Tim Schell, 51, was vacationing with his wife, Dana Schell, but their Colorado ski trip took a tragic turn when Tim came down with the flu, the Detroit Free Press reports. The White Lakes resident allegedly began to feel ill after just one run on the slopes, prompting he and his wife to return to their hotel, but just two days later Schell would die of the flu.
“Before the trip, Tim felt fine and was healthy," Schell's niece, Paige Bastas, said.
The family is now hoping that Schell’s death will serve as a warning for others, stating that they believe he came into contact with the virus while flying for his trip.
“We want to really emphasize the fact that they were on a plane and believe that that is how Tim got sick," Bastas wrote in an e-mail. "We want to let everyone know how dangerous it is for the people around you if you travel/come into contact with people while you are ill."
Schell’s death comes as fear of the flu spreads, with the CDC reporting at the beginning of the month that influenza had already claimed the lives of 53 children.
Speaking on Friday, acting CDC director Dr. Anne Schuchat said that this year's flu season is the worst since the 2009 Swine Flu pandemic. Her statement comes on the heels of new research from Canada that revealed that this year’s flu vaccine is 14% less effective than originally thought, meaning that it is just 20% effective against the dominant H3N2 strain.
“That means people who were vaccinated should not consider themselves invincible for this season,” said lead researcher Dr. Danuta Skowronski, an infectious diseases expert at the BC Center for Disease Control.
Despite the inefficiency of the flu vaccine, the CDC is still urging people to get vaccinated, as it can still lessen the chance of catching the virus by 10% to 60%, potentially saving lives.