TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Pima County Health Department confirmed the death of a child due to complications related to the flu virus on March 18, 2020.
It is the first such case in Pima County this season and is not related to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
The elementary school-aged child became ill and passed away in late February. After investigation, it was determined that the death was caused by infection with the H1N1 influenza strain.
"We pay very close attention to pediatric flu deaths,” Pima County Health Director, Dr. Bob England said. “The focus as of late is of course on COVID-19 but this is a somber reminder that other respiratory illnesses cause sad outcomes like this every year.”
Health officials recommend immunizations for everyone age six months and older and everyday preventive actions like covering coughs and sneezes, staying away from sick people and washing your hands often. People at high risk for influenza complications should see a health care professional promptly if they develop flu symptoms, even if they have been vaccinated this season.
“If you have not gotten vaccinated against the flu, you still should,” England said. “But next year, please get it early. The risk of influenza among vulnerable groups such as children under five and the adults over 65 remains very real and can have devastating consequences.”
Along with the very young and the very old, underlying chronic medical conditions that can increase the risk for serious flu complications include asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or neurological conditions, pregnancy; and a weakened immune system.
For more information about the flu and its symptoms or where to find a flu vaccine in Arizona, use the Flu Vaccine Finder.