ORLANDO, Fla. — Two adults and one child have died from the flu in Orange County, bringing the total number of people who have died from the virus in central Florida to five.
It is unclear how old the child was, but officials said the child had preexisting conditions and did not get the flu shot.
"Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of this child," said Dr. Kevin M. Sherin, director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County Health. "All of us should get the flu vaccine and continue to be alert and practice good hygiene measures."
Two other people have died from the flu in Brevard County, according to health officials.
Rob Lamb, who lost his wife, Mindy, to the flu this week said, "She's the most loving, caring individual I've ever met in my entire life."
Mindy, who was 54, caught the virus from her son who came home sick Jan. 3.
"Thursday my son brought it home, Friday she got it, Saturday she had to be put on life support," Lamb said. "It was that fast.""Thursday my son brought it home, Friday she got it, Saturday she had to be put on life support," Lamb said. "It was that fast."
Orange County health officials, who just confirmed a second death linked to the flu, said the numbers are in line with seasonal levels. The only difference is they're more severe.
Mindy, who worked for Florida Hospital, was on life support for 18 days before she died. She was resistant to Tamiflu and her organs began failing. Lamb believes a flu shot could have saved her and he now wants others to realize the importance of getting vaccinated.
"I think this is a big wake-up call. We all should have gotten our flu shots, but if you didn't you still have time and this should really ice it for you," Lamb said.
Seminole County Medical Director Dr. Todd Husy says this H1N1 flu strain is targeting more middle-aged people.
"It's just the way flu works," Husy said. "It's a virus, it mutates the way it wants to mutate."
While Orange County health officials say the number of cases is lower compared to this time last year, that's little consolation to Lamb.
"It was like I just walked down the street and got blindsided by a semi, [I] didn't see it coming," Lamb said.