Brevard County woman dies from flu, officials say



BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Health officials are asking central Florida residents to take flu precautions more seriously now that a woman in Brevard County has died from the illness.

The woman, who was in her 30s, is the first person to die this flu season in Brevard County, officials told Channel 9. The victim did not receive a flu shot, officials said. 

Two others are currently on life support, including a pregnant woman in her 30s and a 62-year-old man.

Another pregnant woman spoke with Channel 9's Melonie Holt, telling her she wanted to protect her baby, so she scheduled a visit with the health department.

The woman said she's doing all she can to avoid the flu, and that getting vaccinated is a good start.

Officials said this year's flu vaccine contains the same strain of virus that's making many so ill.

"Mostly, it's H1N1, the same strain we had in 1999," said Dr. Heidar Heshmati.

The county's health director can't say exactly how many people have gotten ill this season since the flu is not a reportable illness, although there is a monitoring system in effect where physicians report the most serious illnesses.

And while good hygiene is important, Heshmati recommends a flu shot, saying it can provide protection in roughly 10 days.

"I encourage people to get the shot. There's no excuse," said Heshmati. "It will protect you, and it's available everywhere."