There is also confusion over what exactly the flu is, according to Eisenberg. "It's a respiratory illness that is contagious and transmitted through droplets. It gets on surfaces and transfers from the hands and mouth.
"People are also fearful of things they can't see -- and you can't see influenza," he said. "They don't think of it as an immediate threat."
Health experts also don't know why some people are more susceptible to severe illness and death. "There may be some genetic links to death in a population," said Eisenberg. Obesity and a history of smoking also seem to be clear risk factors, he said.
Darrell Jones said that while he began recovering from his flu symptoms last weekend, his wife never seemed to shake it.
"She was congested and had a sore throat and her head was hurting," he said. "We both had a fever, but I got over it in the first two days."
She treated her symptoms with over-the-counter medicines but on Saturday went to the emergency room at Charlton Methodist Hospital, where she was diagnosed with the flu and given "a couple of bags" of medicine, according to Jones.
By Sunday night, Alice Jones started to experience shortness of breath, and her husband gave her warm tea, which helped ease the symptoms. She had no history of asthma or respiratory illness, he said.
"I was thinking she was just having a little anxiety from being sick," said Jones.
Monday morning, Jones said he took his wife to their local medical clinic, and when they found that her blood pressure was low, the clinic called 911 and she was rushed to University General Hospital, where she began to experience seizures.
"They were going to do a CT scan and got her into the ICU," said Jones. "She started coding, and they couldn't get her stable. I made it out there on time before her last breath. … It was a big shock. I still can't really believe it."