The Florida Department of Health is urging residents to get their flu shot after a child who did not receive the vaccine died after contracting the virus, state health officials confirmed to Fox News on Tuesday.
The child, who died sometime between Sept. 30 and Oct. 6, tested positive for influenza B. He or she did not have any “known underlying medical conditions,” the department said, adding the child’s death marks the first flu-associated pediatric death of the 2018-19 season.
Health officials declined to identify the child, citing privacy reasons.
At least eight children in Florida died during the 2017-18 flu season, which was said to be the worst in decades. Of those eight, none had received the flu shot, Brad Dalton, deputy press secretary for the Florida Department of Health, said in a statement to Fox News.
Young children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with certain medical conditions are most at risk for suffering flu-related complications — some of which can lead to hospitalization or death, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says.
Signs of the flu include a cough, sore throat, muscle and body aches, headache and fever, among other symptoms, according to the CDC.
“Annual vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from influenza and its potentially severe complications. Now is the perfect time to get vaccinated. Stay home when you’re sick and keep your children home when they’re sick. Wash your hands often with soap and water. If you don’t have soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer,” the department said.