POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - The Poplar Bluff Health Department confirms the county has had one case of the H1N1 flu.
A Poplar Bluff mother said her 29-year-old son died after he was diagnosed with the H1N1 flu.
Alene Porter said her son, Kevin Light, was taken to a doctor in Poplar Bluff.
"He had a cough and a low-grade fever and he came up to me and said, 'Mom, I don't feel well.'" Porter said.
She said her son, who had Autism, was diagnosed with a cold, and sent home with antibiotics. His condition worsened and he was airlifted to St. Louis University Hospital. He was later transferred to Barnes Jewish Hospital where she said he was diagnosed with H1N1 and died.
The mother said by the time her son was diagnosed with H1N1, it was too late.
"I'll never hear his voice again," Porter said. "I'll never hear him say, 'Mom' and it's killing me inside when it could have been prevented."
Porter and her husband are urging people not to wait until it's too late.
"I don't want another parent to have to see what we saw and went through," Scott Porter said. "I mean, no one should have to do this and it's as simple as this, get a flu shot."
Heartland News has yet to officially confirm that Light died from H1N1 strain. A spokesperson with Barnes Jewish Hospital could not speak specifically about Light's case and only said he was in their system Friday and was not listed in the system on Saturday. The Butler County Health Department confirms they do have one case of H1N1 that was reported to the county on Friday, but could not confirm if that was Light's case.
Sherri Dodson, clinic manager at the health department, urges people to get the flu vaccine and to monitor their symptoms.
"If they do feel like they are becoming ill, they start getting symptoms, cough, respiratory symptoms, things like that, then they need to seek medical attention because it's very important that if you get the anti-viral that you get them early on in the illness because after a certain point then they won't do as well," Dodson said.
Doctors at Barnes Jewish Hospital have treated 176 cases of Influenza A since early December with most of those cases being H1N1. Doctors say it has been a bad flu year for Barnes Jewish Hospital. The spokesperson also confirmed the hospital had three patients that had been diagnosed with Influenza A and died.
For the 2013-14 season, the CDC says if the pH1N1 virus continues to circulate widely, illness that disproportionately affects young and middle-aged adults may occur.
The Kevin Light Memorial Fund has been set up at the First Midwest Bank in Bluff, P.O. Box 160 Poplar Bluff, Missouri 63902.