Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dade City mom, 27, dies of complications from swine flu

DADE CITY — For three days last month, Holly Harrelson endured what she described as "pure misery."

"Haven't been able to keep my temp below 102.0 and I feel like I'm riding shotgun with death!" she posted Nov. 3 on her Facebook page. If by morning nothing had changed, she was headed to the hospital. "At this point I'm scared," she wrote.

The next day, the 27-year-old mother of three went to Pasco Regional Medical Center, where she died. Friends and health officials say it was from complications from the H1N1 influenza virus, commonly known as swine flu.

Harrelson got sick at a time when the county and the state reported only mild flu activity. However, the number of people seeking treatment for symptoms appeared to be on the rise, according to a week-by-week state report called "Flu Review."

One pediatric influenza-associated death has been reported in the state during the 2013-14 flu season. Currently, Florida reports "minimal" levels of flu activity.

The most common flu reported in Florida during recent weeks was the strain that Harrelson had, the H1N1. Swine flu caused a worldwide pandemic in 2009. It is now a human seasonal flu virus that also circulates in pigs.

Symptoms include a 100-degree or higher fever or a feverish feeling, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches or body aches, chills and fatigue, according to, a U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website.

"It's rare for someone that age to succumb to the flu," said Dr. Marc Yacht, a physician and retired director of the Pasco County Health Department. However, he said underlying medical problems could weaken a person's immune system and render the virus "very dangerous."

Nationally (including Florida), almost all circulating influenza is a good match for the vaccine, according to the state health department. Health officials say it's still a good idea to get the vaccine.

"It's not too late, and the sooner the better, because it does take two weeks for flu shots to build up in the body," said Deanna Krautner, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Health in Pasco.

No one could confirm on Thursday whether Harrelson had received the vaccine.

The daughter of Dade City police Sgt. Tim Harrelson and his wife, Kim, Harrelson graduated from Pasco High School.

She also left behind two sons, Lester and Levi, and a daughter, Jaylynn. Friends said the boys were staying with the Harrelsons while Jaylynn was with her father.

Dade City mom, 27, dies of complications from swine flu 12/19/13 [Last modified: Thursday, December 19, 2013 10:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Cannon Fodder podcast: Considering Gerald McCoy's comments


    Greg Auman talks about Gerald McCoy's comments — both about fan criticism online and Donald Trump — in the latest episode of our Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Gerald McCoy, front, said Monday that he would love to have a conversation with any of the fans who take to social media to criticize him and his Bucs teammates. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Massive crocodile seen roaming the streets, and there was only 1 thing a cop could do


    Name one thing you really don't want to see around 4 a.m. walking around your neighborhood.

    Watch out for that croc.

    A crocodile was seen roaming a street in Miami-Dade.
  3. Pinellas County Sheriff's employee resigns under investigation related to domestic violence arrest


    LARGO — A civilian Pinellas County Sheriff's Office employee resigned Tuesday while under an internal investigation that began after he was arrested on domestic battery charges.

    Joshua Volz resigned Tuesday from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. He had been under investigation after he was arrested for domestic battery, according to police. [Pinellas County Jail]
  4. Mom accused of burying guns after fatal teen shooting declines plea deal


    TAMPA — The Valrico mother accused of hiding the guns after her teenage son shot and killed another boy in their garage told a judge Tuesday that she wants a trial, not a plea deal.

    Heidi Quinn is accused of hiding two guns after her son, Cody, fatally shot 17-year-old Jayquon Johnson in their garage. She faces charges of tampering with evidence. Her son was not charged in Johnson's death because authorities ruled it self-defense. He does face related drug charges. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  5. Stone says no coordination between Trump campaign and Russia

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Longtime Donald Trump associate Roger Stone said Tuesday he's "aware of no evidence whatsoever" that Trump's campaign coordinated with Russians during the 2016 election.