• Atlanta reality TV star fighting for his life; doctors suspect rare brain flu

    By: Tyisha Fernandes

    ATLANTA - UPDATE: Blanks is not out of the hospital and is recovering from the disease. CLICK HERE to read his one-on-one interview with Channel 2's Audrey Washington.


    A reality TV personality who lives in Atlanta is in a coma and doctors think he's suffering from brain flu, a very rare condition with influenza-like symptoms.

    Alexx Blanks, who has appeared on OWN's "Ready to Love," is on life support. The reality dating show is filmed in Atlanta.

    What started out as the common flu turned into something much more serious for Blanks.

    Fewer than 50 people in the United States have had brain flu. Doctors said there has not been much research on the condition.

    Members of Blanks' family told Channel 2 Action News they are extremely worried.

    "We didn’t know what the brain flu was. We’re, like, 'What's going on?' and, basically, it's fluid on the brain," Blanks' sister, Shaunteh said.


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    Shaunteh said on Nov. 11, her brother started having flu-like symptoms: a fever and a bad cough. She also said he felt weak.

    Blanks' family and friends were not too concerned at first, but when the illness lingered for days and days, they took him to see a doctor.

    Blanks told his sister he was going to be fine.

    Two weeks later, Blanks thought he was still battling a bad case of the common flu but wanted to make sure, so relatives took him to another hospital.

    He was admitted on Thanksgiving Day and that's when doctors told his family they believe he has brain flu. Blanks later fell into a coma.

    His sister said she hopes doctors can officially diagnose the problem and heal her brother.

    "I just immediately thought, 'OMG, he’s dying.' Like, that’s just how serious we took it," she said.

    Blanks' family hopes a specialist can take a look at the case and figure out how to get him healthy again.

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