First pediatric flu death of 2018-2019 season confirmed in MI

First pediatric flu death of 2018-2019 season confirmed in MI

Health officials in Wyoming are urging people to get vaccinated against influenza following an unusually large number of flu deaths last winter. It is the highest weekly number reported since the season officially started October 1 but far below the numbers typically reported when flu is widespread.

"Flu is a contagious respiratory disease caused by different strains of the influenza virus and can result in mild to severe illness", reported Lynn Sutfin from the MDHHS.

Nationally, the MDHHS says there have been six pediatric deaths associated with the flu this season.

The first flu-related pediatric death of the 2018-2019 season has been confirmed in MI, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Last year's flu season was the deadliest since 2009 when H1N1 broke out. So far, the MDHHS says MI has only experienced localized flu activity but still advises anyone older than six months get a flu vaccine.

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Many people think the vaccine won't prevent flu, he said. Most of the cases of the flu have been the H1N1 virus.

She says "We still encourage people even when you get the vaccine, to practice your hand washing skills, to cough and sneeze into a tissue or into your sleeve and to stay home if you're sick". Last season, 39.5 percent of MI residents received the vaccine.

So far this year, about 45 percent of adults and 46 percent of children have been vaccinated, he said.

Last year's flu season, keep in mind, was particularly severe. It takes about two weeks to kick in to full effect.

Vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk of developing serious complications from influenza.

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