A seven month old child from
According to the Monroe County Health Department, the child became sick towards the end of December and died on January 1st. The child was traveling with family to the west coast at the time of illness and passed away in Utah. At the time the child died, there were active flu cases in both New York and Utah therefore, it is unclear where the child contracted the virus.
The unidentified child is among two pediatric deaths from the flu in
"These tragic deaths underscore the serious threat seasonal influenza poses, particularly for the very young, the elderly and anyone with a chronic medical condition," said Commissioner Daines. "We are particularly concerned for children who have asthma or chronic respiratory illness, because they are more vulnerable to serious complications from the flu. Local health departments and many health care providers have ample flu vaccine. Anyone who wants to reduce their risk for flu should get vaccinated. Its not too late."
However, a child need not be extremely young or with chronic illness in order to be vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control now recommend all children up to age 5 receive a flu vaccination. In Monroe County, many area private practices are beginning to run low on their vaccine supply and are now sharing largely because it is late in the flu season. The County Health Department does offer a community clinic every Wednesday.
"But there's a whole other strategy that says let's immunize the people that will reduce the number of cases in the population the most. And it turns out that immunizing children will reduce the number of cases rather than just immunizing the elderly, very young or chronically ill," says Dr. Andrew Doniger, director of the Monroe County Health Department. Doniger tells News 8 Now that the health department was aware of the infant death and says it is an unfortunate but necessary moment to further impress the need for childhood flu vaccinations.
Last year, there were nine reported pediatric deaths from flu in
For more information about a flu shot clinic in your area call the Monroe County Health Department: