RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Virginia Department of Health has reported the first pediatric flu-related death in the state during the 2019-2020 season.
Officials said a teenager in Northern Virginia, between the ages of 13 and 17, died from complications of the flu.
“We offer our condolences and deepest sympathies to this child’s family,” said State Health Commissioner Norman Oliver, M.D., M.A. in a release. “Sadly, this is a tragic reminder that flu can be a serious illness, and we encourage everyone to take precautions to protect themselves and others.”
On average, VDH said there are three flu-related pediatric deaths in the state each year.
Health officials said flu has been widespread in the state since December 2019 and has investigated 61 flu outbreaks the entire season through Feb. 1. There have also been 773 pneumonia and influenza-associated deaths in Virginia so far.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that influenza has resulted in 22-31 million illnesses, 210,000-370,000 hospitalizations and 12,000-30,000 deaths in the U.S. so far this flu season. Certain groups are at higher risk for serious illness from flu, including children younger than 5, pregnant women, people aged 65 and older, and those with suppressed immune systems or certain chronic medical conditions, such as heart or lung disease,” a release said.
Health officials said the flu vaccination is the best way to protect against the flu.
Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.