Three die from MRSA and influenza infections in Maryland

According to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, five members of a Lusby, Maryland, family came down with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus pneumonia along with influenza and three died from the infection.

Ruth Blake and her adult children, Lowell and Vanessa, contracted H3N2 at the same time that they had MRSA pneumonia. Blake was 81-years-old while Lowell was 58-years-old and Vanessa was 56-years-old. An additional child of Blake's and her sister were hospitalized as a result of the combined infection, the Washington Post reports.

Blake was vaccinated against the flu this season but her children were not. It is assumed that the MRSA and flu both spread from the mother to her children. Health officials in Calvert said that the cases were isolated to a single family. David Rogers, the county's health officer, said that it is suspected that Blake had the flu and suffered a major lung infection that turned into pneumonia.

"In older people, that can often be fatal," Rogers said, according to the Washington Post.

Ruth Blake's coughing is believed to have spread the virus and bacteria into the air, causing her caregivers to become infected.

MRSA pneumonia is a fast-acting lethal infection that kills lung tissue. The first cases of MRSA post-flu pneumonia occurred in Baltimore during the flu season of 2003-2004. According to a 2010 Johns Hopkins University report, in 2007 there were 457 deaths from the flu in the United States compared with 52,847 deaths as a result of post-flu pneumonia, Wired reports.