Massachusetts confirms first pediatric flu-related death of season


BOSTON (WPRI) ─ The first flu-related pediatric death of the season has been confirmed in Massachusetts, according to state health officials.

Massachusetts Department of Public Health said the child was a teenager who lived in Worcester County and tested positive for influenza B.

“I feel immense sorrow for the family of this child. This is a tragic reminder of how serious the flu can be for both children and adults,’’ Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said.

Nationwide, 39 people under the age of eighteen have died from the virus this season.

Last season, there were four confirmed pediatric cases that resulted in death in Massachusetts.

The state’s infectious disease specialist says it is complications from the flu that are deadly.

“So secondary infections, bacterial pneumonias that occur after someone who has the flu for a number of days. Last season, we had flu up until May, so there’s still time to get vaccinated,” Dr. Larry Madoff said.

People who believe they may have the flu should contact their healthcare provider, especially if they have health concerns that make them more at risk of complications.

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