12-year-old boy dies from flu virus in West Palm Beach

Florida 1 of 26 states dealing with increased cases of virus

By Tim Swift - Local10.com Digital Editor, Kristi Krueger - Anchor/Health Reporter

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A 12-year-old boy in West Palm Beach has died from the flu, his family said.

His family said that Dylan Winnik felt fine Saturday as he played at a birthday party. However, the boy came down with cold-like symptoms Sunday. By Tuesday, his condition worsened and a neighbor called 911.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said deputies were called to the 4600 block of Sunset Lane just after noon Tuesday and found the boy dead.

"We just honestly thought it was a common cold, because it happens," Dylan's brother said. "Even I had a cold, Iike, a week before him, and it just happens."

Dylan split his time between living with his father in West Palm Beach and his mother and her partner, Mike Medwin, in Coral Springs. Medwin said Dylan was just your typical boy who loved sports.

"It's something that you can't imagine," Medwin said. "You think it's somewhere off, somewhere else and it's not your problem, and then it's right here in a neighborhood like this."

Friends and family members are using a GoFundMe page to collect donations to help pay Dylan's funeral expenses.

"There is nothing that can ever explain the loss of a beautiful child at such an early age," Medwin said. "Dylan was highly intelligent, surprisingly funny and always full of life busy with his two brothers."

Dylan was a seventh-grade student at Okeeheelee Middle School in West Palm Beach.

The school sent a letter to parents Wednesday that said Dylan died of an illness and offered to provide professional counselors for students who need them.

"He touched many lives in a special way," Principal David Samore said.

State officials said two other children have died of the flu recently in Florida.

Florida is among the 26 states where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting widespread flu activity. 

Doctors think the increase in flu cases may be in part because the flu vaccine may be less effective than usual this season. The CDC said it's usually 50 percent effective. This year the flu shot is about 32 percent effective. 

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