New Jersey sees first pediatric flu death of season, state department of health says

A New Jersey child has died of the flu, marking the first pediatric flu death of the 2018-2019 season in the state.

The child, who has not been identified for privacy reasons, lived in the “central region of the state” and died in late December, the New Jersey Department of Health said in a news release.


“I am deeply saddened for the family of this young child, who experienced an unthinkable loss,” Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal said in a statement.

No other details regarding the child’s death have been released at this time.

“There is high flu activity throughout the state so it’s important for those who have not yet gotten a flu shot — especially health care workers — to get one,” the state department of health reminded residents.

To help prevent the flu in yourself and others, it’s best to wash and disinfect your hands, cover your mouth if you sneeze or cough and stay home if you’re ill, especially if you have a fever, the New Jersey Department of Health advises.


The death follows last year’s severe flu season, during which an estimated 80,000 people were lost to the viral infection, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield said in September. The 2017-2018 flu season killed the most people since the late 1970s, the CDC also said at the time.

The flu spreads "mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs," the CDC explains. "Less often, a person might get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes."

Fox News' Elizabeth Zwirz contributed to this report.