WEST YARMOUTH — A 49-year-old West Yarmouth woman has died of complications from the H1N1 flu virus, family members say.
Patty Bill Methot, mother of a 10-year-old girl, died Jan. 30 in the intensive pulmonary care unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, her sister Pamela Giusti of Plymouth said.
The family included the cause of death in the obituary for Methot that ran in the Cape Cod Times.
“People need to know this,” Giusti said.
Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that H1N1, also known as swine flu, is the prevailing seasonal virus circulating at this time, and it is striking young and middle-aged adults particularly hard.
Sixty percent of flu hospitalizations tracked by the CDC this season are for individuals between 18 and 64, said Dr. Sandra Chaves, an epidemiologist with the CDC.
While the 2013-2014 flu season is not considered especially severe, it is unusual in that people at the other edge of the age range — either very young or old — are the ones who end up hospitalized, Chaves said.
Methot was described by family and friends as an active person and former competitive ice skater who loved the New England Patriots and volunteering in her daughter Kelsey’s fourth-grade classroom at the Nathaniel H. Wixon Innovation School in South Dennis.
She suffered from a bad back, but “she was diligent about her health,” her husband, Matt Methot, said.
His wife didn’t smoke or drink coffee and went to the doctor whenever she had a flare-up of pancreatitis, a condition she had lived with for years, he said.
The Methots divided their time between homes in Worcester and West Yarmouth. When Patty Methot got sick late last month, she initially thought it was just a cold, Giusti said.
She went to a hospital emergency room in Worcester after her symptoms worsened, Giusti said. Medical workers took a swab of her nasal passages, told her she had the flu and put her on an antiviral medication, her sister said.
A couple of days later, on Jan. 22, a friend who went to visit Patty Methot found her struggling for breath and called an ambulance, Giusti said.
The next day she was taken by medical helicopter from UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester to Massachusetts General, Giusti said.
Patty Methot developed pneumonia and a blood infection after being diagnosed with H1N1, Giusti said. She said Methot died with family members by her side, including her husband and Kelsey, who sang “You Are My Sunshine” at her bedside.
Giusti said she wants to get the message out that people should practice good hygiene and wash their hands often with hot water and soap during flu season.
Neither antiviral medication nor vaccination was able to save Patty Methot’s life, Giusti said.
“That’s the kicker of the whole thing. She had the flu shot — we all did,” Giusti said.
Massachusetts health officials do not know how many adults have died of flu this winter because the state keeps track only of pediatric deaths, state Department of Public Health spokeswoman Anne Roach said.
Hospitals in Massachusetts have reported laboratory-confirmed flu hospitalizations to the DPH on a voluntary basis since 2010.
Late last month, hospitalizations had nearly reached 2012-13 levels, but were higher than the mild 2011-12 flu season.
In the two-week period from Jan. 13 to Jan. 27, Cape Cod Hospital and Falmouth Hospital each admitted six patients who were confirmed to have influenza type A, said Robin Lord, spokeswoman for Cape Cod Healthcare, the parent company of both hospitals. Two of the patients at Cape Cod Hospital were treated in the intensive care unit, Lord said.
She said she did not know if any of the patients were confirmed to have H1N1, which is one subset of type-A flu.
The Boston Public Health Commission, which reports annual flu deaths among city residents, said so far this flu season, three people have succumbed to the flu.
They all were senior citizens with underlying health conditions, said Nick Martin, the commission’s communications director.
So far, this flu season seems relatively mild, and the flu vaccine seems to be effective against the flu strains circulating, including H1N1, Martin said.
As of Jan. 25, there were 450 cases of flu reported among Boston residents, compared with 700 at this time last year, Martin said.
“We’re seeing less activity” this year, he said. “It’s not the most mild flu season but it’s not as bad as we saw last year.”
Chaves said the CDC won’t have death rates from this flu season for months because it relies on estimates using data from 122 cities across the United States, and it takes time to develop the models.
link to story: (download pdf)
- Flu shot Ingredients: http://www.vaccinesafety.edu/
- Mercury content (μg Hg/0.5 mL): http://www.cdc.gov/flu/
- Study: seasonal flu vaccination increases risk of other lab-conf respiratory infections; http://cid.
oxfordjournals.org/content/ early/2012/03/13/cid.cis307. full.pdf+html;
- Study, Annual Flu Vaccines Could Leave People Vulnerable to Novel Pandemics; Article about Study – http://www.ibtimes.com/
annual-flu-vaccines-could- leave-people-vulnerable-novel- pandemics-study-371160