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3 in family dead, 4th sickened from respiratory illness

LUSBY, Md. — Health officials in Calvert County and Maryland say three members of a family have died from respiratory illnesses. A fourth relative was sickened and remains hospitalized.

Officials say an 81-year-old woman became sick at home around Feb. 23. Authorities say her son and two daughters cared for her at home, and five days later developed similar upper respiratory symptoms.

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The elderly woman, her 58-year-old son and 56-year-old daughter died. The fourth family member, who was not identified, is still hospitalized.

Maryland Medical Examiner David Fowler said one of the bodies was being taken to Baltimore for autopsy.

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Testing is being conducted by the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Laboratories Administration. Two of the fatal cases had influenza, preliminary testing has shown, and these cases may have been complicated by bacterial co-infections, which is a complication of influenza infection, the state health department said Tuesday.

No other similar clusters have been reported, according to DHMH.

The Baltimore Sun contributed to this report.

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