New York child dies of flu, health officials say

A New York child under the age of 4 has died of the flu, according to health officials, marking Monroe County’s first flu death of the season. No other information was immediately available about the child, but the health department said the death occurred between Oct. 1 and 19 and was one of the 14 confirmed influenza cases in the county.

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Six of those confirmed cases required hospitalization, as pediatricians in the area reminded parents to have their children vaccinated sooner rather than later. Dr. Elizabeth Murray, at Golisano Children’s Hospital, has even created #FluBeforeBoo campaign to encourage getting the vaccine before Halloween, WXXI News reported. 

According to New York State’s health department, there has only been one flu-associated pediatric death so far this flu season, with 45 cases of the illness confirmed in children under 4 years old. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also said the first two pediatric flu deaths of the season were reported to the health agency this week.

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Children younger than 5, especially those under 2, are at high risk of developing serious flue-rated complications, including pneumonia, dehydration, worsening of long-term medical issues, brain dysfunction, sinus or ear issues and even death. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get a seasonal flu vaccine by the end of October each year. Those around children under 6 months of age, including the child’s mother, should receive the flu shot to help protect the child.

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Others at high risk of complications from the flu include adults age 65 and older, pregnant women, people with asthma, heart disease and stroke, those with diabetes, people with HIV/AIDS, cancer patients and children with neurologic conditions.