Via The New York Times: Florida Child Dies From Flu, the First Young Death Reported in the U.S. This Season. Excerpt:
A child in Florida who had not received the flu vaccine died from the virus, state officials announced on Monday, the first influenza-related pediatric death reported in the country this flu season.
While flu activity remains low across the United States, the Florida Department of Health said that a child tested positive for one of the strains, influenza B, and later died. Health officials would not release details about the death, including the child’s age, gender or location in the state, but said that the child did not have an underlying medical condition and died between Sept. 30 and Oct. 6.
The flu season, which just began and stretches into winter, typically peaks during the coldest months. The death was notable because it occurred before any significant outbreaks in Florida or beyond and before many people have even received the vaccination. Federal health officials recommend getting the flu shot before the end of October.
It was not clear whether the child did not get the flu shot on purpose or whether the child had expected to receive it later in the season. A spokesman for the health department said that the state could not release more information about the case because of privacy concerns.
“While rare, these deaths do occur every year, mostly in unvaccinated children with underlying health conditions,” the spokesman, Brad Dalton, said in an email on Tuesday. “Annual vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from influenza and its potentially severe complications.”