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Authorities: Pregnant Hickory Hills woman likely died from flu

Updated: January 18, 2013 3:50PM



The family of a pregnant Hickory Hills woman who died Thursday after suffering from the flu were on the minds of friends and neighbors Friday as they tried to cope with the news of her death.

Margaret Jefferson, 38, of the 7700 block of West 91st Street, was pronounced dead at 7:10 a.m. at Palos Community Hospital in Palos Heights, and her child, who was delivered stillborn and was identified only as “Baby Girl Jefferson,” was pronounced dead at the hospital at 1:14 p.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Police responded to the home after receiving a report that the woman was unresponsive after suffering from the flu for at least two weeks, Hickory Hills police Lt. Tim Stevens said. An autopsy Friday found she died of natural causes.

James Glenn, who was at Jefferson’s home Friday, identified himself as her best friend and said Jefferson was married and had two sons, ages 7 and 4.

“They’re great people, and it’s a horrible tragedy,” Glenn said.

He said the family declined to comment.

Neighbor Bernie Brown, 62, said the family had lived next door for about five years. His concerns were for Jefferson’s husband.

“Now what’s he going to do? Now he has no wife. Oh, man,” Brown said.

Stevens said Jefferson appeared to have died from pulmonary embolism, which is common among pregnant mothers suffering from the flu.

Chicago has been one of the hardest-hit parts of the country in terms of the flu, according to Tom Skinner, a spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Chicago Department of Public Health recently reported that 6 percent of emergency department visits and 7.5 percent of outpatient visits to Chicago hospitals were attributed to influenza-like illnesses during December. A year ago, that number was about 2 percent for the emergency department and between 2 percent and 3 percent for outpatient.

The United States is about halfway through this flu season, and “it’s shaping up to be a worse-than-average season” and a bad one for the elderly, said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New figures from the CDC show widespread flu activity in all states but Tennessee and Hawaii.

The government doesn’t keep a running tally of adult deaths from the flu, but estimates that it kills about 24,000 people most years.

Contributing: Sun-Times Media Wire, Donna Vickroy, AP



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