The victim was identified by Haverhill Community Health Coordinator Mary Connolly and Haverhill school officials as first-grade student Delilah Lovelace, who tested positive for influenza A. Connolly said the 6-year-old girl is believed to have died Monday from influenza-related complications after being taken to Holy Family Hospital.
This year's flu season is the most widespread since the Centers for Disease Control started surveilling the viral infection 13 years ago.
However, the stories of otherwise healthy people dying from the virus are really shocking and frightening.
"We were hoping to have better news", said Dr. Schuchat. A recent CDC study showed vaccination prevents deaths by half (51 percent) among children with underlying high-risk medical conditions and almost two-thirds (65 percent) among healthy children. Influenza A H3N2 viruses continue to dominate, and these viruses are more often associated with more severe illness, particularly among children and older adults.
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And that's why its even more important to take preventative actions every day throughout flu season.
There have also been a total of five pediatric deaths in Texas this season.
"With the flu in the United States at nearly historical proportions, it's important to be vaccinated and protect yourself as much as possible", says Kerry McCue, health administrator. Biology professor Dr. Benjamin Christmann said it is largely thanks to how the prevalent strain has changed beyond the vaccine. These steps will help prevent respiratory viruses, including influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and rhinovirus.
"Flu is nothing to fool around with", said Allan. As of February 3, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had reported a total of 63 influenza-associated pediatric deaths this flu season nationwide.
"This is a severe flu season, and unfortunately there are no signs that it has peaked yet", said State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box. It is possible to come down with both an A-strain and B-strain flu in the same year (and even at the same time).
Winter Weather Advisory: Freezing Rain Possible
For instance, over Lafayette, high-resolution data suggests temperatures go above freezing between 3,000ft and 7,500ft. If you add January and February together, they say we're looking at more than twenty inches of snowfall in our region.
The Lexington-Fayette Health Department is offering free flu shots Tuesday afternoon.
Rattay said schools are seeing higher-than-usual absentee rates, but at no point, have any schools seen a need to close due to a flu outbreak. Utilize the hand sanitizer dispensers across campus for another barrier between you and the virus.
This year's unsafe flu season shows no sign of waning, and "may be on track to break some recent records". He cited pharmacy-based immunizations and a MA program where every patient is offered a flu shot at hospital discharge.
Despite the inefficiency of the flu vaccine, the CDC is still urging people to get vaccinated, as it can still lessen the chance of catching the virus by 10% to 60%, potentially saving lives.
Also, she noted that judicious use of antibiotics in patients with coinfections should always be considered and that prompt use of neuraminidase inhibitor antivirals in chronically ill or hospitalized kids should be implemented.
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