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Two Families Describe Battles With H1N1

Betty Ann Bowser takes an in-depth look at two families attempting to cope with the H1N1 flu.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Now a swine flu story.

    Betty Ann Bowser of our Health Unit reports on two families coping with that illness. The unit is a partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

  • BETTY ANN BOWSER:

    Jaroy Acosta loves puzzles. He attacks them with the enthusiasm of a normal, robust 5-year-old. So, it seems almost unbelievable that, just three weeks ago, he laid near death in a Washington, D.C., hospital, taken down in a matter of days by H1N1 swine flu.

  • ANA ACOSTA, mother:

    I even think that it won't happen to us, to our family.

  • BETTY ANN BOWSER:

    Ana Acosta is Jaroy mother. She and her husband, Wilmer, emigrated from Honduras to the suburbs of Washington 10 years ago.

  • ANA ACOSTA:

    We couldn't have children for 10 years. So, he is a miracle child.

  • BETTY ANN BOWSER:

    When little Jaroy got so sick so fast, they were devastated.

  • ANA ACOSTA:

    I don't know where he got it. I don't have any idea, because his brother got sick first.

  • BETTY ANN BOWSER:

    The boy's pediatrician put them on the antiviral Tamiflu, one of two drugs proven effective in treating the virus. Three-year-old Jurel got better. But Jaroy did not.

  • ANA ACOSTA:

    Jaroy was getting worse. You know, he still had the fever. But it was controlled. But, on Saturday night, he had a fever, no-stop fever. We couldn't control the fever at all. He got up to 104 fever.

  • WILMER ACOSTA, father:

    He start feeling a lot of — with coughing. He can't breathe very well. He breathe this way.

  • ANA ACOSTA:

    He was wheezing a lot.

  • WILMER ACOSTA:

    Very — but very fast.

  • BETTY ANN BOWSER:

    Jaroy is one of a small number of children for whom H1N1 has been a life-threatening illness. That's because he has an underlying condition, asthma, which made him vulnerable to a secondary infection, viral pneumonia.

    The Centers for Disease Control doesn't know exactly how many kids like Jaroy have been hospitalized for swine flu. But they estimate at least 95 have died since April, 11 of them in just the second week of October.

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