MDHHS: Child dies after contracting influenza

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says a child has died after contracting influenza.

It’s the first influenza-linked pediatric death in the state this flu season, the department said Friday in a release. Nationwide, there have been at least 103 as of March 2, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

By March 4 of last year, two children in Michigan had died after contracting influenza, data from MDHHS shows.

CDC: Flu activity ‘very high’ in Michigan

“These are tragedies that no family should ever have to endure,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, the state’s chief medical executive, in a statement. “Each year influenza claims the lives of dozens of children across the United States.”

MDHHS says influenza is on the rise in Michigan.

Data from the department shows Michigan’s influenza-like illness levels were “very high” for the week ending March 2. That week, 6% of outpatient visits to Michigan health care providers were for influenza-like illnesses, according to the data. The national rate was 4.1%.

MDHHS recommends everybody 6 months of age and older get the flu vaccine.

“It’s the best way to protect yourself and your family from getting sick and reduces illness severity if someone does get the flu,” Bagdasarian stated.

Across the state, around 25% of Michigan residents have been vaccinated against flu this season, MDHHS says. For children ages 6 months to 17 years, the rate hovers around 19%, which is slightly lower than last year.

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