First pediatric flu death reported in Virginia for current flu season

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(File Photo)(WWBT/NBC12)
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 3:51 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) - The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced the state’s first reported influenza-associated pediatric death for this flu season.

According to a press release sent out by the VDH, a child between the age of 5-12 years old died from complications associated with influenza.

“We offer our deepest condolences to the family of this child,” said State Health Commissioner Colin M. Greene, MD, MPH. “Flu can be a very dangerous illness. With Virginia and many other states experiencing high or very high levels of flu activity, I urge everyone who is eligible to receive the flu vaccine to do so as soon as possible, consulting your physician as needed. While we can never stop all cases of flu, the best way to reduce your risk is to get the vaccine, which is available to anyone over 6 months of age.”

VDH recommends taking three actions to prevent the flu:

  • Everyone 6 months & older should receive a yearly flu vaccine;
  • Practice good preventive health with hand hygiene (washing your hands regularly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer), respiratory etiquette (coughing and sneezing into a tissue or the inside of your elbow rather than your open hand), and staying home when you feel sick; and
  • Take antivirals as prescribed by your physician if you do become sick with the flu.

The VDH reports that Virginia is experiencing early and very high flu activity during the current 2022-23 flu season compared to previous flu seasons. For example, Virginia reported one influenza-associated death among children during the 2021-2022 flu season, according to the VDH. You can read more about respiratory illnesses in the Valley here.

The flu shot is widely available in Virginia at many different locations, including pharmacies and health departments. To learn more and to get help finding vaccines, contact the Call Center at 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1). Assistance is available in English, Spanish, and more than 100 other languages. Visit www.vaccines.gov to find a vaccine near you.

To read the full release click here, and to learn more about influenza in Virginia you can visit the VDH Influenza page and the Influenza Dashboard.