In the week of December 8 to 14, the week the child died, the number of emergency department visits for influenza-like illnesses was up 1% and the number of positive influenza tests in the state was up about 8%.
"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.
The CDC estimates that flu season will reach its peak before the Lunar New Year break from January 23-29, he said. So far this flu season, at least 19 other children in this age range have died because of the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Kaiser Permanente is sending out 10,000 letters to vulnerable patients to remind them to get flu shots.
"Losing a child to influenza is heartbreaking and I want to extend our deep sympathy to the family", said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health - Seattle & King County. There were 31 fatalities the season before, and 50 flu-related deaths in Pierce County for the 2016-2017 season. "If you have not gotten a flu shot, do it now".
Children 5 and younger are among those most at risk for flu complications.
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The first influenza-related adult death (over 65 years of age) was reported last week in Douglas County. People who receive the vaccine can still get influenza, but if they do, it is usually milder.
Amato says the flu will likely spread easier during the holidays when people gather together to celebrate.
Between 9 - 45 million people get flu every year in the U.S. The number of suspected influenza cases for the year was at 3,320 and the "confirmed influenza deaths for this flu season - 33".
A flu strain that tends to appear in March and April makes its presence known in Colorado at the start of the season, and doctors don't know why.