New Jersey Health Department Confirms First Pediatric Flu Death Of Season

Henrietta Strickland
January 10, 2019

The timing of seasonal flu outbreaks vary and can begin as early as late October.

There have been high rates of children hospitalized across the country this year. However, the flu virus can be particularly unsafe for young children, seniors, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems.

Since September, Ottawa Public Health has recorded 77 lab-confirmed cases of the flu, similar to the amount seen at the same time a year ago.

"It's a different season, different profile".

The most recent statistics show there has been 512 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza A in Manitoba, the most common flu virus in Canada, since Sept 1. Most cases occurred in people under age 65. Last year, the flu killed more than 80,000 Americans, including a record 185 children.

Seventy-one of those kids had to be admitted to the ICU.

The department did not release additional information about the child, citing privacy concerns.

However, these figures reflect only cases in which testing was performed; many more people who come down with the flu don't seek medical assistance and therefore aren't tested.

With illness spreading and months of flu season left to go, experts still recommend getting a flu shot.

As of December 29, New Brunswick had 579 lab-confirmed cases, 577 of them influenza A and two of influenza B. Of those, 71 people were hospitalized, 15 were admitted to the ICU and there were three deaths.

"We would encourage everyone to get the flu shot, especially if they are at higher risk", said Dr. Genevieve Cadieux, associate medical officer of health at Ottawa Public Health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 states are reporting high levels of flu activity. "This year, the predominant strain we're seeing is H1N1", Shahab said.

To help prevent the flu in yourself and others, it's best to wash and disinfect your hands, cover your mouth if you sneeze or cough and stay home if you're ill, especially if you have a fever, the New Jersey Department of Health advises.

Hospitalization rates associated with the flu remained relatively low, at 5.4 admissions per 100,000 people.

"It's not just flu, but also other respiratory viruses", tweeted hospital CEO Alex Munter, "busy viral season".

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against the flu virus, so the earlier the shot is administered, the better.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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