‘Sad news:’ 1st pediatric flu death this season reported in Wisconsin

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

WAUWATOSA — The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported the first pediatric death from influenza in Wisconsin this season, according to a news release from Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin officials Monday, Feb. 18.

“This sad news proves how serious influenza can be and how important it is to take measures to protect our children,” said Lyn Ranta, MD, director of physician affairs at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in the release. “I cannot stress enough the importance of an annual flu vaccination for all children. If your child hasn’t gotten theirs yet this season, it’s not too late to help protect them.”

According to the release, a 2017 study showed that flu vaccination can significantly reduce a child’s risk of dying from the flu. Getting vaccinated decreases the chance of getting sick and reduces the severity of illness if one still gets sick. Getting vaccinated yourself also helps protect people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older peopleand people with certain chronic health conditions.

Children’s Hospital officials scheduled a news conference for Tuesday afternoon to discuss this further.

Below is a statement from DHS officials:

Influenza in Wisconsin has reached what we call the acceleration stage. We are seeing more hospitalizations statewide than we have in previous weeks, up to 20 or 30 hospitalizations each day. And we don’t expect to see the season peak for another six weeks or so.

As of October 1, 2018, there have been 13 influenza deaths, one of those a pediatric death, which means someone under 18. That happened in southeastern Wisconsin. I can tell you, the child had not been vaccinated.”

Meanwhile, CLICK HERE to find a flu shot location nearest you. CLICK HERE to sign up to receive the DHS’ weekly influenza report.

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