State officials report first child flu death in North Carolina of this season

The first child flu death in North Carolina this season has been reported in the central part of the state, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Nine pediatric flu deaths had been reported this season from other states as of Dec. 16, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Up to half of children who die from flu have no known medical condition that would have put them at higher risk.

This flu season, 11 adult flu-associated deaths have been reported in North Carolina, with six of those being people 65 and older, according to officials.

The N.C. Department of Human Resources is not releasing the identity, gender, hometown or county of the child.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the child’s family,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore, in a statement. “If anything positive comes from this tragic loss, we hope it will be that people understand that flu is a serious illness. Flu vaccination is the most effective protection against flu, and it’s still not too late to get a flu shot.”