JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health announced Thursday that two children who were not yet vaccinated for the 2019-2020 influenza season had died.
These mark the first deaths reported in Florida this flu season.
The health department did not reveal where the children lived but said the bulk of the cases are in the Tampa and Miami area.
The Duval County Health Department said it is not currently experiencing an outbreak, but there is mild activity and this activity appears to be increasing.
While no deaths have been reported in the Jacksonville area, the health department is urging children and adults to get vaccinated. Dr. Pauline Rolle said the strain that has been sickening people is included in the vaccine, which should protect anyone from getting seriously sick if they are immunized.
Rolle said common symptoms of the flu include fever, chills, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headaches and fatigue, but not everyone gets a fever and that vomiting is also a symptom. If you experience any of those symptoms you should be tested for flu.
The Duval County Health Department said the first and most important step in preventing flu is to get a flu vaccine. It has shown to reduce flu-related illnesses and the risk of serious complications that can result in hospitalization and even death.
Children, especially those under the age of 2 years old and those with certain underlying medical conditions, are at higher risk for severe complications from influenza infection. Vaccination has been shown to reduce a child’s likelihood of dying from influenza by 60%.
The Florida Department of Health in Duval County provides free flu vaccinations for children up to 18 years old and for some adults at these two locations:
Pearl Immunization Center
5322 North Pearl Street
Jacksonville, Florida 32208
South Jacksonville Immunization Center
3225 University Boulevard South, Suite 200
Jacksonville, Florida 32216
For more information, visit duval.floridahealth.gov.