‘Dangerous' flu trend affecting Georgia

ATLANTA — A Coweta County woman is fighting to survive. What started as the flu now has her in critical condition in the hospital. %

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Health officials are warning about a dangerous trend they are seeing in this year's flu season.

Georgia health officials told Channel 2’s Matt Belanger they're seeing more flu-like illness now than they did in January and February when they usually see the peak.

And the most common strain of the virus is infecting young and middle-aged adults.

Jason Tucker said it happened fast.

His wife Nikki started coughing, and within days she was rushed from Coweta County to intensive care at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital in Buckhead.

"She just kept getting worse and worse," Tucker said.

"You could never know that a cough could turn into something like this." - Husband Jason Tucker

Doctors determined her illness started as the flu but quickly became pneumonia, caused cardiac arrest and has left her in a coma.

"It's horrible, there's nothing I can do to make it better," Tucker said.

Georgia health officials told Belanger they're seeing a late-season spike in flu-like illnesses.

A representative for the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Belanger the most common strain of the virus right now is primarily infecting young and middle aged adults.

That's at odds with conventional thinking that young children and the elderly are most at risk of getting the flu.

As the weather warms, the virus is catching people traditionally considered to be at low-risk off guard.

"You could never know that a cough could turn into something like this," Tucker told Belanger.

Tucker said his wife did not get a flu shot this year.

He said the ordeal is taking a big financial toll on his family, and he's spending as much time by her side at the hospital as he can.

"It seems like she's getting there. She's making small turns. It's going to be a long process," Tucker said.

Officials said it is not too late to get a flu shot to protect yourself considering flu season can last as late as May.

if you would like to help out the family with its medical expenses.