As flu deaths mount across the nation, a 12-year-old Michigan boy appears to be one of the latest victims. Michael Messenger, of Clay Township, was normal until he vomited during dinner. Two days later he died. "It's indescribable, it really is," his mother Jessica Decent-Doll told WKYC.
He cherished his three siblings, loving to annoy his oldest sister, play with his older brother and protect his little sister.
"The boy never stopped, ever. He loved science. He loved his family," his mother said.
Decent-Doll said the day after her son vomited at dinner, he was still feeling bad, so he was taken to an urgent care center. She said her son's vital signs were normal and his rapid flu test came back negative. The doctor gave the boy anti-nausea medicine and said he should be given plenty of fluids, she said.
After Michael went home, he got worse. His mother said she was up with him all that night and was planning to take him to the emergency room the next morning, as soon as she got her other children off for school.
But by then it was too late. The next morning her husband tried to wake young Michael, but he was unresponsive. They called an ambulance, rushed the boy to the hospital, but he died 90 minutes later.
Decent-Doll issues this warning to other parents: "Don't wait, it's all I can say. This flu or whatever is going around this year is unbelievably dangerous," she said.
So far at least 20 children have died from the flu this season. Health departments in nearly every state are reporting spikes in flu deaths among all age groups.
Health experts say this season's dominant flu strain is especially virulent. Nicknamed "the hospitalizer," the H3N2 strain is fast-acting and causes high numbers of hospitalizations and deaths.
Also, this season's flu vaccine is reportedly only about 30% effective.
Michael reportedly had a flu shot this season. Although flu is being blamed for his death, an autopsy will likely reveal the exact cause.