Unvaccinated Florida Child First to Die in This Year's Flu Season

Unvaccinated Florida Child First to Die in This Year's Flu Season

Unvaccinated Florida Child First to Die in This Year's Flu Season

State health officials say the unidentified child died during the week ending October 6, the first week of this year's season, and was otherwise healthy. Of those eight, none had received the flu shot, Brad Dalton, deputy press secretary for the Florida Department of Health, said in a statement to Fox News.

The flu vaccine reduces a person's risk of contracting the flu by about 40%, meaning even someone who receives a flu shot should take additional precautions.

Florida health officials identified the lethal strain as influenza B, which is less common and generally less severe than Influenza A, though both strains infect humans. Despite pleas from health officials to get the shot, about 58 percent of children ages 6 months to 17 got it last season, down two percentage points from 2015-16, the federal government said.

In its most recent flu surveillance report, the Australian Government Department of Health stated the severity of its season, which already peaked in early September, was "moderate", with "low" impact on society as a whole.

Most flu deaths are among the elderly, children, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems.

"In the past, people have been hospitalized for not getting their flu shot and the strain changes each year, so it's very important to get your flu shot", registered nurse Shelbrina Lomax said.

The CDC says an estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications last winter. The child was otherwise healthy, with no known underlying medical conditions.

The 2017-28 flu season was one of the deadliest in recent memory. She said the vaccine is updated to protect against viruses it is believed will be circulating during the upcoming season.

But Narula said that this first death of the child in Florida is the "wake-up call" that parents need to hear. "Pregnant women who get a flu vaccine are also helping to protect their babies from flu illness for the first several months after their birth when they are too young to get vaccinated". It is the most effective tool we have.

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