A child in the Southeast U.S. is the first person to die from flu this season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported today.
The death occurred during the first week of October, and was reported to the CDC last week, the agency said.
"This death is a somber reminder of the danger flu poses to children," said Jamila Jones, a spokesperson for the CDC.
Currently, flu activity in the United States is low. Sixteen states are reporting no flu activity, while 32 states are reporting sporadic activity, the CDC said. Just one state, Iowa, has seen local outbreaks of the disease.
A new strain of swine flu that first appeared in flu patients in July has so far infected 310 people in 10 states. Most of these cases occurred among people who had contact with pigs, and the virus does not appear to spread easily between people. No new strains have been identified since.
The best way for people to protect themselves against the flu is to get the seasonal flu shot each year, Jones said. The flu shot is recommended for people ages 6 months and older.
Flu shots are especially important for children under 5 and those with long-term health conditions because those groups are at high risk for complications from the flu, Jones said.
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