This Girl Just Died From the Flu -- Despite Her Test Coming Back Negative

Girl with flu
Nikki Guinn

When Kira Molina first started showing flu-like symptoms on January 25, the high schooler from Georgia went to a local hospital. When her flu test came back negative, her family felt relieved that she wasn't dealing with the epidemic that has already killed 37 kids across the country. Unfortunately, the test results were wrong and Kira died from the flu only days later.  

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The teenager's official cause of death was liver failure due to influenza A. After taking a rapid flu test on Thursday, Kira was found unresponsive at home on Monday morning and died at an Atlanta hospital on Tuesday.

Kira is the first reported death of a minor in Georgia from flu-related causes, and her death is especially shocking to family because her symptoms seemed to be improving -- until she went to bed on Sunday night.

Girl with flu
Nikki Guinn/YouCaring

More from CafeMom: Schools Across the Country Are Closing Because of the Flu

According to Kira's cousin Nikki Guinn, the teen's parents couldn't wake her up on Monday morning. She was taken to a local hospital before being transferred to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta in serious condition. "[The flu] was causing her organs to shut down," she tells CafeMom. "The doctors were ready for a liver transplant ... They hoped a new liver could possibly help with fighting off the flu. But they had to get her stabilized, but unfortunately that never happened. No one expected this and her parents are devastated." 

Although Kira's family thought that she had a fighting chance at first, her body quickly proved that it just wasn't strong enough to keep battling. "Nobody anticipated that anything bad was going to happen," Guinn told People. "It went from she was fine to nothing. She went to bed that night and she never spoke again."

Girl with flu
Nikki Guinn

Although Kira's rapid flu test came back with a false negative, this isn't necessarily an isolated occurrence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "rapid tests vary in their ability to detect flu viruses." This is a serious disadvantage compared to the three-day test because as it offers "sub-optimal test sensitivity, false negative results are common, especially when influence activity is high." 

Kira's death sheds light on the possible inaccuracies with rapid tests that doctors are dealing with. The CDC warned that sensitivities to these rapid tests fall between 40 and 70 percent, meaning more than half of patients tested could come back with false negatives. This is more likely to occur during times of "high prevalence" of the flu, so they warn that those who show signs of the flu but have negative results should still be treated accordingly.

According to Michael Einhorn, president of Dealmed-Park Surgical, a medical supply distributor, some poorly performing flu tests may have actually been banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but could still be in use. Einhorn told the Daily Mail the FDA banned two of the most commonly used rapid flu tests on January 12 due to poor performance. Although Osom and QuickVue are off the market, some doctors may still be using the kits they have left until their supplies run out because there is a shortage of new test kits.

"This is something that's been going on for the last three weeks. There's minimal talk about it and it's just a crisis," Einhorn told the Daily Mail. "For a typical flu season we maybe have half of those orders. This season we're doubling our volume with less available product."

CafeMom reached out to the FDA regarding this matter but it did not immediately respond.

More from CafeMom: Nurse Shares Urgent Warning About New Flu Symptom Most Parents Have Never Seen

Girl with flu
Nikki Guinn

Kira's family set up a YouCaring page to help with the unexpected funeral costs, and according to Guinn, Kira's grandmother hopes that other families learn from this tragedy. "[She] told me this is something you don't play with. If you have symptoms, don't wait," she tells CafeMom. "Don't take any chances."

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