Mysterious deaths of mother, son raise concerns of dangerous virus

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ST. PETERS, Mo. — A mother and son died within four days of each other, and a possibly dangerous virus could be to blame.

According to KMOV,  physicians were at a complete loss to explain the deaths of Zach Smith, 19, and his mother Rhonda Smith, 48.

Zach Smith went to St. Joseph’s Health Center Friday after feeling flu-like symptoms. Over the next two days, Smith developed infections, his organs shut down, he went into cardiac arrest and died Sunday.

“They said the explanation of death was even more to the fact they felt it was a strand of the flu from Africa,” Scott Dyer, a relative of the mother and son, told KMOV.

Four days later, Rhonda Smith went to have a side ache checked at Barnes St. Peters Hospital. Her blood sugar was so high that she was at risk of a coma, although she wasn’t diabetic.

Like Zach, Rhonda had severe respiratory problems. Doctors told the Smith’s family members to get tested for the flu and and chest X-rays in case they had something that could have been passed to them.

Health officials hope to get answers from an autopsy being performed Thursday on Rhonda Smith’s body and from lab tests that will be conducted.

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