2 children die from flu-related sickness in Massachusetts

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MILFORD, Mass. (WPRI/AP) — State public health officials say two children have died from flu-related illnesses in Massachusetts in the past week.

A 12-year-old Milford boy, identified by town officials as Aaron Zenus, died Wednesday after being treated at a hospital.

The state Department of Public Health says a girl who lives in Middlesex County also died this week. No other information was release about the girl’s case.

“January and February are typically the height of the flu season, and flu-related complications can result in very serious, life-threatening illness and even death, among both children and adults,” the health department said in a statement. “These deaths are tragic and are a reminder of the dangers of flu and the importance of flu vaccination, our best protection against illness.”

Officials say they are the first two pediatric flu-related deaths in the state this season.

One child death in Massachusetts was associated with the flu a year ago.

Public health experts say they consider the current flu season to be widespread and severe, but note preliminary indications show this year’s vaccine to be highly effective. They add it’s still not too late to get vaccinated.

In Rhode Island, the health department said there have been 12 flu-related deaths so far this flu season, but none of them were children.

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