NC reports first flu-related child death of season

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RALEIGH — North Carolina has reported its first flu-related child death for the season.

A six-year-old died of complications from an influenza infection on Feb. 4, state health officials said Monday.  The child, whose identity will not be released, was at-risk for complications from the flu due to underlying medical conditions, officials said.

“We extend our deepest sympathy to the family on the loss of their child,” said Dr. Laura Gerald, NC Health Director. “Unfortunately, this reminds us that flu is a serious illness and can be potentially devastating to people at any age.”

Influenza kills an estimated 25,000 in the U.S. each year and causes more than 220,000 hospitalizations.

Officials said about 1/2 of the children who died last season as a result of the flu were not at-risk for complications.

Officials said flu activity across the state has been mild for the season, although there has been a recent increase in the number of infections reported.

Most infections can be prevented with a flu vaccine, which is recommended for anyone over six-months-old.

For more information and to find a flu vaccine clinic near you, visit flu.nc.gov.

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