Flu blamed for death of another child in Washington state

December 24, 2019 GMT

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A Pierce County child under the age of five died from flu-related complications according to the Tacoma Pierce Health Department, and doctors say it’s the same strain of virus that led to the death of a child in King County last week.

KIRO-TV reports the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department noted the child who died there also suffered from underlying health conditions.

“Sadly, flu strains currently in circulation this season have hit the young very hard,” said Nigel Turner, division director for the Communicable Disease Control Division.

Adrian Pierce told KIRO-7 her grandson Santana Patterson, 12, was diagnosed with influenza at an urgent care clinic, because his doctor was booked up with appointments for flu symptoms.

“They said you have the flu, but they caught this flu early,” Patterson said. “I’m going to be OK, because they gave me some medicine and I’m going to be better.”

Doctors in Pierce County say a B-strain of the flu virus was the cause of death for the child there, and they say it’s the same strain which also lead to the death of a King County child last week. It was the first child flu-related death there in ten years.

“This is the second pediatric influenza death, and we are seeing a lot of influenza in children, which is unusual this time of year and reflects the strain of influenza that we’re seeing in the community this season,” said Turner.

Doctors say getting the flu shot should protect you against the new flu strain. They say the vaccine widens the circle of protection for those around you.