BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has confirmed two children have died of flu-related illnesses.
There have now been two flu-associated pediatric deaths this season, both within the past week: An adolescent male from Worcester County and a female child from Middlesex County.
The cases appear to be unrelated and were confirmed by DPH’s State Public Health Laboratory.
Milford Selectmen said a middle school student, 12, who died Wednesday, was one of the victims.
“January and February are typically the height of the flu season, and flu-related complications can result in very serious, life-threatening illness and even death, among both children and adults. These deaths are tragic and are a reminder of the dangers of flu and the importance of flu vaccination, our best protection against illness. The Department of Public Health urges people to get vaccinated, to wash their hands, cover their cough and sneeze and stay home when sick to limit the spread of disease,” said Dr. Larry Madoff, Director of Epidemiology and Immunization in the Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
The state lab has confirmed 7,000 cases of the flu this season, which is higher than last season.
According to the Commonwealth, one child died from a flu-related illness last season.
Connecticut has reported more than a dozen flu-related deaths this season, and there has been one flu-related death report in New Hampshire.
Since 2010, The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), estimates that flu-related hospitalizations among children younger than 5 years ranged from 7,000 to 26,000 in the United States. Even children in this age group who are otherwise healthy are at risk simply because of their age.
Since flu-related deaths in people younger than 18 years became nationally reportable in 2004, the number of deaths reported to CDC has ranged from 37 during the 2011-2012 season to 171 deaths during the 2012-2013 season
Originally posted at 1:17 p.m. Updated at 1:58 p.m. The original report was quoting WCVB-TV which had identified both individuals. Source has since removed that graph and details.