According to ABC News, an 81-year-old woman and her two children in Maryland died after contracting “severe respiratory illnesses.” A fourth family member is currently hospitalized in critical condition at the Washington Medical Center.
Health officials are still trying to determine the illnesses of those involved. The elderly woman initially became ill around February 23, and died March 1. Her son and daughter, both in their 50s, developed symptoms around February 28 when they came to take care of her.
Infectious disease specialists have several conjectures about the illnesses. Influenza, pneumonia, and Legionnaires’ disease have all been suggested as possibilities. Environmental causes such as toxins or carbon monoxide could have also been the cause. Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, stated in the article that if it were indeed Legionnaires’ disease, there would need to be “an investigation of the heating and air conditioning systems” of the woman’s home.
The Calvert County Health Department announced that no one outside the family has fallen ill, and they have not declared any community recommendations at this time, ABC News reports.
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