PHOENIX - The Maricopa County Department of Public Health says an infant too young to be immunized has died due to influenza, marking the first pediatric flu death of the year.
Officials say there were no flu deaths involving children in Maricopa County last year. In 2017-2018, the Centers for Disease Control reported 61,000 deaths in the United States from influenza.
“This incredibly sad case reminds us that even though the flu is common, it can cause serious illness and even death,” said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director for disease control at Maricopa County Department of Public Health. “This is a tragic reminder that anyone who is able to get the flu shot should, not only to protect themselves, but to protect those around them who are most at risk of severe disease and death from the flu.”
So far this year, 935 flu cases have been reported to health officials, which is about four times more than what they were at the same time last year.
“If you haven’t received your flu shot yet, please get vaccinated as soon as you can,” said Dr. Sunenshine. “You can help prevent the spread of flu in our community, especially to seniors who don’t respond as well to the vaccine and those who can’t get vaccinated.”
The CDC recommends that everyone six months and older should get the flu vaccine. In addition to the vaccine, the CDC says to protect yourself and others from getting the flu by avoiding touching your mouth and nose, wash your hands regularly, cover your cough and stay home when you are sick.
For more information, please visit https://www.maricopa.gov/1873/Influenza-Flu.