5-year-old Oklahoma girl dies after being diagnosed with flu, strep

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5-Year-Old Girl Dies Days After Flu Diagnosis

MOORE, Okla. -- A five year old girl from Moore died Wednesday night after being diagnosed with the flu and strep throat over the weekend.

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Officials at Integris Hospital did not specify what killed Emersyn "Emmy" Waddle, but released a statement Thursday saying, "This is a loving and concerned family. Our hearts go out to them in this time of incomprehensible loss. We are hopeful the medical examiner will be able to shed some light on why little Emmy died."

The girl died just before 9 p.m.

Thursday afternoon, the state Medical Examiner's office did not have a cause of death to release.

A Facebook page was set up for Waddle called "Praying 4 Emmy" and a Go Fund Me page was set up as well.

Emmy's father, Dylan, told NewsChannel 4 she did not feel well on Friday and experienced a fever of 107 degrees by late Saturday.

Her temperature actually spiked from 102 to 107 within an hour, he said.

She was hospitalized -- her liver and kidneys were not functioning properly and she had swelling on her brain.

Dylan said his daughter loved her two older sisters and one younger brother, and was "sweetest, kindest, loving little girl."

Dr. Kristy Bradley, the State Epidemiologist, said there have been 47 deaths in Oklahoma from influenza since September -- 16 of those were within the last week.

"We are having a very severe flu season this year," she said Thursday. "If they start to see some problems with persistent fever, shortness of breath in very young toddlers and infants, very unresponsive, then they shouldn't delay and take them for medical attention."

She said the Centers for Disease Control reports this season's flu shot has only been 23 percent effective, well below the usual 60-70 percent effectiveness.

The predominant strain, H3N2, has developed a variation since the vaccine was made last year – meaning the virus has been able to dodge the flu shot.

Dr. Robert Welliver, Professor of Pediatrics and Chief of Infectious Diseases at OU Children's Physicians, says the flu brings down the immune system, allowing other complications to become deadly.

"Children and adults, when they die of influenza, very often they have staph in their lungs as a complication from that," he said. "I think all of us have something that we're not one hundred percent protected against, and that's probably what happens in people that get fatal influenza."

Funeral services for Emmy Waddle are set for Monday, 10 a.m., at Emmaus Baptist Church.

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