DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A tragic reminder that the flu should be taken seriously.
Dallas County health officials have confirmed a previously healthy 34-year-old has died, bringing the flu-related death toll to 11, one of those a pediatric death.
Two other suspected pediatric deaths are pending confirmation in Dallas County.
Collin County health officials are investigating two possible pediatric flu deaths, as well.
The news comes on the same day as Teresa “Reese” Termulo’s funeral. She was a student at Bishop Lynch High School.
Termulo is most likely Dallas County’s first confirmed pediatric flu death this season.
“I just talked to her less than 24 hours before, quite unreal,” says Allison Elliott, a Termulo family friend and also Reese’s drill team director at Bishop Lynch. “Kids get sick all the time and they come back to school, come back to practice, so that was definitely unexpected for us.”
Elliott says the family and friends are understandably devastated at the loss of a “shining light.”
She was asked to speak on behalf of the family prior to Reese’s funeral service at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Dallas Wednesday.
Turmulo was remembered as an inclusive, funny friend and a great student who loved to dance.
“Her dad asked me to let you know that she loved Bishop Lynch High School, and loved being on our brigade dance team, and she was very devout in her faith.”
Termulo’s sudden death most likely due to the flu.
Privacy concerns prevent county health officials from providing any identifying patient details surrounding the flu deaths.
However, Dr. Philip Huang, Director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, says any loss is troubling.
“It’s tragic and it’s a scary reminder just how serious this is, how people are perfectly healthy can get the flu and have serious illness and even die,” he said.
It is a message that is getting more notice in the community now.
Gracie Escalante says everyone around her is getting sick.
“One left work yesterday feeling sick,” says Escalante. “She went to the doctor and she got the flu!”
So she is making it a priority to get a flu vaccine. And health officials say if you aren’t sick, you’ve still got time.
“You can’t stay away from sick people,” says Escalante. “You just have to be careful.”