• Pregnant woman dies of flu in hospital, baby survives


    MELBOURNE, Fla. - A pregnant woman admitted to a Brevard County hospital has died from the flu but her baby survived, according to health officials.

    Alexandra Bryan lived to hold her newborn son, Bennett, just one time. A little more than a month later, she was dead.

    Bryan, who was in her 20s, was admitted to Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne several weeks ago. She died Sunday night, according to Dr. Heidar Heshmati of the Florida Department of Health in Brevard County.

    Heshmati said Bryan's son was delivered in early December and is fine.

    Officials said Bryan had been on life-support for several weeks.

    According to Heshmati, the flu was the H1N1 strain and Bryan had not had a flu shot.

    Friends of Bryan told Channel 9's Ryan Hughes that she appeared to have caught a cold during her pregnancy and then developed pneumonia following the delivery of her child.

    "H1N1 has complications for particular groups. Young adults and especially pregnant women are at risk for complications," said Dr. Tim Hendrix with Centra Care.

    Hendrix said Centra Care facilities in central Florida treated 100 flu cases last month and are now seeing nearly 500 a week.

    "Flu's on the rise. We're seeing a lot of sick people coming in with flu symptoms that are testing positive for the flu," said Hendrix.

    Bryan is the second flu fatality in Brevard County this season. Another woman, in her 30s, died Jan. 5 at the same Melbourne hospital.

    Earlier this month, health officials in north Florida reported that 12 people had died from the flu at a Gainesville hospital since October, including five people under age 40.

    H1N1, often referred to as the swine flu, is the same strain responsible for an outbreak of flu in 2009.

    Heshmati said that this year's vaccine provided protection for that strain of flu and that it is not too late to get the vaccine.

    According to Hendrix, flu normally peaks in mid-February.

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