A YOUNG, loving father has died suddenly due to complications from the flu as Victoria’s influenza epidemic continues to rage.
Ben Ihlow was meant to spend Father’s Day with his 10-month-old son, Andrew, and wife Samantha on Sunday, but died after complaining of “a bug” just six days prior.
“Everyone’s in shock because it was sudden. He got sick on the Monday, and just had a bit of a bug,” uncle Neil Adams told Seven News Melbourne on Wednesday.
It has been reported that Mr Ihlow, a 30-year-old sports fan, who worked at a liquor store, was taken to hospital on Friday and never recovered.
The Myrniong Primary School community has established a YouCaring fundraising page to support Mr Ihlow’s mourning family.
As of 7.40pm the page had attracted 155 donations totalling $8942, with a stated goal of $10,000.
“Ben’s loving wife Samantha has made such a positive impact on so many children’s lives and now it is our turn to support Samantha and baby Andrew and return the love that she has shown to so many of her students through this difficult time,” a blurb on the fundraiser page reads.
Authorities have declared this flu season the worst in years, with the number of notified laboratory confirmed cases up 81 per cent from 2016.
The Loddon Mallee Region — taking in Bendigo, Echuca and Swan Hill — has been reported as the worst affected.
Department of Health figures show that between January 1 and July 9 the area had 1115 confirmed cases of influenza, compared to 57 last year.
A deadly flu outbreak at St John’s Retirement Village in Wangaratta has claimed eight victims.
The Wangaratta outbreak prompted the federal government to introduce mandatory flu vaccinations for aged care workers.
Former policeman John Walker, like Mr Ihlow, died within about a week of feeling ill.
His widow, Lorainne Walker said the 88-year-old came down with pneumonia.
Mr Ihlow’s funeral will be held on September 8 at Michael Crawford Funerals, Main St, Bacchus Marsh.