Arizona mother of two dies shortly after flu diagnosis

PHOENIX — An Arizona mother died a day after she was diagnosed with the flu, KSAZ reports.

Alani Murrieta, the mother of a 2-year-old and a 6-month-old, left work on Nov. 26 because she was not feeling well. The next day, she went to urgent care and was diagnosed with the flu.

According to Murrieta’s aunt, Stephanie Gonzales, she was released and sent home with “flu meds.”

The next day, Murrieta’s illness was getting worse, so she was taken to the hospital where she was diagnosed with pneumonia. She was placed on a ventilator but never recovered.

“They were trying to resuscitate her, and they tried for several minutes and they told my sister there was nothing else they could do, that she was gone,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales said Murrieta had no pre-existing conditions that she is aware of. She added that her niece never received a flu shot, but there is no indication whether that would have made a difference.

“Our family is devastated that she is gone,” Gonzales wrote in a GoFundMe campaign to pay for funeral expenses. “We would like to thank everyone for their continued support and kind words. Words can’t express our gratitude for the help we have received.”

Most people who get the flu will recover within a few days or no more than two weeks, experts say. But some patients can develop complications that cause serious illness and at times can lead to death.

According to the latest data available from the Arizona Department of Health Services, one influenza-associated pediatric death has been reported so far this season in Maricopa County, the same county where Murrieta lived.

The agency says that about 5 to 20 percent of Arizona residents will get the flu every year, with more than 4,000 needing hospitalization for flu-related complications. The flu causes an average of 700 deaths in Arizona every year, the agency says.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated against the flu and suggest these “everyday preventive actions” to help curb the spread of the flu.