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Wisconsin Department of Health Services announces 1st pediatric flu death of 2019-20 season

MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced on Friday, Jan. 10 the first pediatric flu death for the 2019-20 season.

Officials say the death happened in southeast Wisconsin — and the victim is a child under age 10.

“This season is especially hard on young people and children. Among 622 hospitalizations for influenza this season, 97 have required admission to intensive care unit,” said Tom Haupt, Influenza Surveillance Coordinator with DHS. “60 percent of hospitalizations have been under the age of 65.”

Wisconsin Department of Health Services DHS

Haupt said this is in contrast to previous seasons where more than 60 percent of hospitalizations have been over 65 years old.

“The best way to protect against influenza is to get the influenza vaccine. It is not too late to get the vaccine, plenty of supplies available and it is safe,” Haupt said.” We are hoping the vaccine will become more efficient than it was last year since we made some changes from last year.

According to DHS, the child tested positive for influenza B, the strain that’s been rapidly spreading and has been increasingly problematic nationwide, particularly in younger patients.

Haupt said the best way to prevent the flu from spreading is to get vaccinated.

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