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4-year-old dies from influenza; first flu-related death in the county this season

A 4-year-old child from Riverside County recently died after being sick with the flu, health officials announced Wednesday.

The Riverside County University Health System said the 4-year-old child from Perris who recently died tested positive for influenza. Officials said the child had underlying health issues and passed away at a medical facility outside of the county.

This marks the first pediatric flu-associated death of the 2019-2020 flu season. According to the county, in 2018-2019, there were nine flu-associated deaths and during 2017-2018, there were 23 deaths.

“We should never forget that the flu still kills,” said Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser. “I always recommend people get their flu shots every year, but a death so early in the flu season suggests this year may be worse than usual. Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones who are grieving.”

Kaiser reminded residents that it's not too early to get a flu shot, many providers already have this year's shot in stock. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend all persons 6 months old and older receive a flu vaccination each year. Kaiser added that children 8-years-old and under who haven’t received at least two flu shots in prior seasons may need two shots to be fully protected. Consult your primary care provider for more information.

As for ways to avoid the flu, Kaiser recommends people frequently wash their hands and avoid getting close to people who are sick. If you or your child are sick, stay home from work and school.

For more information on where flu shots are being offered throughout Riverside County, visit www.rivcoimm.org.


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