ARIZONA NEWS

Metro Phoenix health officials confirm 1st pediatric flu death of season

Jan 24, 2023, 12:24 PM
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – Metro Phoenix health officials announced Tuesday that the season’s first pediatric flu death has been confirmed.

The child, whose age was not released, was not immunized against influenza, the Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCPH) said in a press release.

“This incredibly sad case reminds us that even though the flu is common, it can cause serious illness and even death,” Dr. Nick Staab, MCPH medical epidemiologist, said in the release.

“This is a tragic reminder that anyone who is able to get the flu shot should, not only to protect themselves, but to protect those around them who are at highest risk of severe disease and death from the flu.”

There were two pediatric flu deaths recorded in Maricopa County last season.

MCPH doesn’t track adult flu deaths. An estimated 5,000 to 60,000 people die of the contagious viral disease annually, depending on the severity of the season, according to the release.

Maricopa County has documented more than 16,000 flu cases this season, the most ever at this point in a season.

The flu vaccine is recommended for anybody age 6 months and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“If you haven’t received your flu shot yet, please get vaccinated as soon as you can,” Staab said.

“You can help prevent the spread of flu in our community, especially to older adults, younger children, and others who can’t get vaccinated or are at higher risk of flu complications.”

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Metro Phoenix health officials confirm 1st pediatric flu death of season