Jacksonville child dies with flu virus

1st flu-related death in Duval County this season

Published On: Jan 30 2013 04:40:25 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 24 2013 01:09:57 AM EST

The Duval County Health Department has confirmed a pediatric death related to the influenza virus.

This was the first flu-related death in Jacksonville since 2009. Health officials said they confirmed that the child died from the flu, though they could not say when the child died. Officials also cannot release any details about the victim other than the fact that the child had not received a flu vaccine.

Nationally, nine children or teens have died of the flu this season, bringing the total of flu deaths in the United States this year to 29. That's close to the 34 pediatric deaths reported during all of the last flu season, although that one was unusually light. In a typical season, about 100 children die of the flu.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, total deaths associated with flu range from a low of 3,000 people, to a high of 49,000 annually over the last 30 years. About 90 percent of flu deaths are in the elderly; the very young and people with other health problems such as diabetes are also at higher risk.

This year's flu season started about a month earlier than normal and the dominant flu strain is one that tends to make people sicker. Vaccinations are recommended for anyone 6 months or older.

There's still plenty of vaccine -- an update shows that 145 million doses have been produced, twice the supply that was available only several years ago, officials said.

To avoid the flu, the department urges two prevention methods: getting a flu vaccination and being alert to spreading germs.

Each year’s flu vaccine contains the three strains of influenza most likely to be circulating that year. That’s why it’s so important to get a flu shot every fall. Last year’s shot might not cover the same strains infecting us this year.

The DCHD encourages the following groups to receive a flu vaccine because they are either at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing complications:

Flu vaccinations are available at the DCHD by walk-in and appointment. For additional information or to schedule an appointment, please call the DCHD’s Immunization Center Office, at 904-253-1420.