An unvaccinated Florida child passed away in the last month after testing positive for influenza B.
According to an ABC News report citing state health officials, the unidentified child succumbed to the illness during the week of September 30, although an exact location has not been reported because of concerns about privacy.
Before contracting the flu, the child was healthy, according to the Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Epidemiology. When taken to a local health center, the child reportedly tested positive for the virus.
The death marked the first flu-related loss of life in the state this season.
Influenza took the lives of approximately 80,000 U.S. citizens in 2018, with 183 of the victims being children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The agency reported that it was the deadliest outbreak in at least four decades.
Further, about 80% of pediatric deaths last year “occurred in children who had not received a flu vaccination this season,” the CDC’s website states.
According to CBS News, officials said last year’s vaccination for the flu “didn’t work very well.” However, health officials maintain that people should continue to get the shot, as it can still prevent deaths and make the virus less severe if contracted.
The CDC recommends that everyone aged six-months or older should be vaccinated against influenza each year.
The flu vaccinations for the 2018-19 season “have been updated to better match circulating viruses,” according to the agency.
[Feature photo: Pixabay]