Second-Grade Teacher Dies of Flu Complications

A second-grade teacher in Texas has died of complications from the flu.

Heather Holland, 38, of Willow Park, Texas, passed away Sunday, Feb. 4, after suffering complications from the flu, DFW-TV reports. According to Holland’s husband, Frank Holland, the 38-year-old mother of two had fallen sick earlier in the week and had then been diagnosed with the flu on Wednesday, Jan. 31. She was given a prescription for TamiFlu, but her condition worsened and she was admitted to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Friday, where she died days later after going into septic shock.

“She was a wonderful person,” her husband said, adding that she had no previous health conditions.

The Weatherford Independent School District, where Holland taught second grade at Bose Ikard Elementary, notified parents of Holland’s death in a letter, stating that “today is a difficult day at the campus.” The district stated that custodians had been deep cleaning schools since December and that Bose Ikard Elementary had last been cleaned on Friday, Feb. 2.

Holland’s death comes as acting CDC director Dr. Anne Schuchat declared this year’s flu season to be the worst since the 2009 Swine Flu outbreak. The flu has already claimed the lives of some 53 children and has caused hospitals across the U.S. to experience a 40% increase in flu patients, with California being one of the worst-hit states. Overall, however, the western part of the country is finally beginning to see some relief. Eastern states are continuing to see higher rates of hospitalization.

New research from Canada, however, has 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.

Still, the CDC is urging people to get the vaccine, stating that even though the flu shot is not 100 percent effective, it can still lessen the chance that someone catches it by 10% to 60%.