First pediatric flu death of 2018-2019 season confirmed in MI

Influenza virus

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recently confirmed the first influenza-associated pediatric death of the 2018-2019 flu season.

Health officials in Wyoming are urging people to get vaccinated against influenza following an unusually large number of flu deaths last winter.

Flu is a contagious respiratory disease caused by different strains of the influenza virus and can result in mild to severe illness.

State Epidemiologist Alexia Harrist says almost everybody age 6 months or older should get a seasonal flu shot.

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It's also a myth that getting the vaccine gives you the flu.

Two Michigan children died a year ago from flu-related complications.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), last year's flu season was estimated to be the deadliest since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.

This week the CDC also recorded the seventh pediatric flu death of the season; the patient had an influenza A virus that was not subtyped.

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"Getting a flu shot is the most important step a pregnant woman could take to protect her and her baby from influenza", Wooten said.

During the 2017-2018 flu season, only 39.5 percent of MI residents were vaccinated against flu, below the national rate of 41.7 percent.

It's not now clear where in the state the child was from or if he or she had received the flu vaccine.

The state Health Department recommends that everyone six months of age or older receive an influenza vaccination. "We don't need these people going to work or school because they feel they don't want the flu to get them down", he said.

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Health unit surveillance is showing just a few lab-confirmed cases of influenza per week so far this year - a fairly typical start to flu season. It takes about two weeks to kick in to full effect.

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