Carly Christenson, 14, died of influenza despite receiving flu shot

Categories: Health
carly christenson rect.jpg
Submitted image via KSTP and the Star Tribune
Christensen (pictured) came down with a sore throat the week before Christmas. Yesterday, she died.
Getting a flu shot is no guarantee you won't get sick, perhaps even deathly so, from influenza.

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Just consider the tragic story of Carly Christenson, a 14-year-old 9th grader in St. Louis Park who yesterday became the second otherwise healthy teenager to die in the Twin Cities in the last two weeks from flu complications. Christenson received a flu shot in August, WCCO reports.

Overall, Christenson is the fifth person to die of the flu in the state this season.

The WCCO report tells the story of how Christenson's symptoms rapidly worsened:
Carly, who played basketball on the freshman sophomore team at St. Louis Park High School, returned home from practice Dec. 20, complaining of a bad sore throat. After a quick visit to urgent care, doctors believed it was just a mild infection.

They prescribed Prednisone and sent her home. After all, Carly had no obvious signs of influenza and she had been vaccinated in August, so her parents didn't give it second thought.

However the next day, that sore throat progressed to fever, shortness of breath and wheezing. Carly's lungs filled with fluid she was admitted to the hospital for treatment. Her clogged lungs were not providing enough oxygen to her body, so she was given a heart and lung bypass via what is called an ECMO machine.
The Star Tribune spoke with Kris Ehrenmann, head of the infectious diseases and vaccine program at the state Health Department. Despite Christenson's story, Ehrenmann urged people to get the flu vaccine:
Ehresmann stressed that the relatively rare deaths of people who were vaccinated should not lead to the conclusion that the shots are pointless. The vaccine is considered 60 percent effective against the flu in healthy adults, she said.

It "is not 100 percent effective, so, sadly, it is possible to have a situation in which someone vaccinated develops influenza," Ehresmann said. "We still are recommending vaccination" for everyone, especially vulnerable groups such as the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions...

Even in otherwise healthy people, "what can happen is that influenza serves as a gateway for a secondary infection like pneumonia or staph, and the severity increases rapidly," Ehresmann said.

"Sadly, we do see some pediatric deaths from the flu and deaths in otherwise healthy young people every year," she said. "That in no way diminishes this child's tragic death, but it does happen. We continue to say -- get vaccinated."
Through December 29, 578 flu-related hospitalizations had been reported throughout the state this flu season.

"It certainly is a very vigorous influenza year," state epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield told MPR last week.

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11 comments
tonibark
tonibark

they prescribed "prednisone" for an infection? steroids can make underlying infections behave like a wild fire.

60 percent effective is very misleading. 60 percent (if it has the right matching viral types) 60 % of the people receiving will have some antibodies. antibodies are not the same as a full immune response.

people need innate immunity for flu . there is evidence that vaccines can halt innate immunity for  a few months after receiving them.

so this, sadly could have been a perfect storm.

so sorry for the loss of this lovely girl. 

please, steroids are dangerous in the face of infection. necessary for breathing difficulties bu often cause bad outcomes when given for sore throats or viral syndromes.

and yes, I would bet her vitamin D levels were nil. THis is actually the one thing which makes us all susceptible to viral and repiratory syndromes in the winter.

jeannebh65
jeannebh65

I would be curious to know what her vitamin D levels were...that just might explain why her body was not able to handle this flu.  Research people.  Vitamin D is more of a deterrent to the flu than the shot.  



Kathie Carlson
Kathie Carlson

People a teen died because of the flu, doesn't matter if she got a shot or not, the flu is so bad its killing people. Please have some common sense and respect for this girl and her family. My thoughts and prayers go out to them. yes, the City Pages can be rude and un caring at times, but I don't believe any thing I see or hear in any type of media, I'll gather information, but not judge as I wasn't there, thanks and have a good day!

Eric Shawn Smith
Eric Shawn Smith

Yes we all know that pharmaceutical companies are evil. Thank you for enlightening us with information we have know for over a century. Before you run continue to run your little conspiracy theory tirade let me just say we already know who is buried in Grant's tomb, the illuminati didn't kill Tupac, Andy Kaufman IS dead and yeah we know 911 was an inside job. Now go choke on your influenza vacine.

Shalee Danae Sand
Shalee Danae Sand

@tyler: Do you work in healthcare? Or do you get your information directly from the media? Vaccines are not peddled...manufacturers peddle themselves, using vaccines as a base to sell their OTHER products. Vaccines are backed by years of research. Did you know polio was almost, and I stress almost, eradicated? A disease known to cripple and deform children? Do you know how many of these vaccines actually helped save lives of CHILDREN!?! Take a look at those countries that don't have the CHOICE we have here...the illnesses children needlessly suffer because they do NOT have access to these vaccines! Oh sure, let's roll the dice.... Wonder if you've had a vaccination? I bet you have.....you're alive and well.

Kevin Green
Kevin Green

If more people got the flu shot it would not get spread around as easily and this in itself could have prevented her from getting sick. So once again it is the lazy stupid and misinformed that spread these diseases. Measles had thought to have been eradicated until the ignorant homeschoolers creationists decided that the vacine was some kind of GUBMENT conspiracy now measles is killing children once again. This anti intellectualism backed up by the loudest voice in the room is a definate throwback to the dark ages.

Tyler Chip Moody Suter
Tyler Chip Moody Suter

Good thing the flu shot has been "90% effective"... How do these jokers come up with numbers like that? Bullshit. And to Shalee, while vaccinations are not evil, the people who peddle them do not have our best interest in mind. Why have flu shots gone from a vaccination to be administered to the most vulnerable people (elderly and very young) to something that everyone needs, and then to the extremely offensive extreme of, "if you don't get vaccinated you are putting everyone else at risk"? I'll tell you why, because there's a s**t load of money to be made. Our body is equipped to deal with common illness, but in order for it to function properly, it must be exposed to, and able to evolve along with, these viruses. And secondly, why are you appalled? All the first line said was that a vaccination does not guarantee safe haven from illness. That is true, and not debatable. If you get a flue shot, you can still get ill.

Shalee Danae Sand
Shalee Danae Sand

I am appalled at your first line in this tragic story. How about reporting on the increase in whooping cough and measles because of the media scare tactics about vaccinations. Measles is an airborne virus, and whooping cough, well if one of your family is infected...everyone has to be treated. Vaccinations are not evil, and are a choice everyone should be educated by their healthcare provider...not the media.

A1batross
A1batross

What a nightmare. My sympathy to her family. I can't imagine.

Peter Farnsworth
Peter Farnsworth

Probably because it is the flu shot that got her sick in the first place...

jeannebh65
jeannebh65

@Kevin GreenUm....before you rant and call others ignorant...take a few minutes and look up your spelling.   (vaccine*  definite*)  Just saying.

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