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Flu season worrying W.Va. officials

By Tim MacVean

The Inter-Mountain

ELKINS, W.Va. – Local health officials are concerned about the frequency and severity of influenza cases so far this winter, although reports that one local woman died this week due to complications brought on by the flu could not be confirmed.

The initial obituary for Ashley Ranee Bonner Long, 26, of Hambleton, said she had been in her usual health and death was being attributed to complications of the flu. However, a full-length obituary issued Monday afternoon by Lohr & Barb Funeral Home in Elkins attributed her death to complications of pneumonia.

Officials at Davis Medical Center said they could not confirm or deny the cause of death because of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) restrictions.

Nonetheless, this flu season has some health officials worried.

A report released by the state Bureau for Public Health said there already has been one pediatric death due to the flu reported. This is the first pediatric death attributed to flu in West Virginia since 2009.

The predominant flu virus so far this season is Influenza A, also known as H1N1, according to the Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases…

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