California reports flu season's first infant death

First infant flu death this flu season | Courtesy of
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has confirmed its first flu death involving an infant for the current flu season.

The infant lived in Stanislaus County.

In California, the overall activity of influenza does not yet show a pattern. The height of flu season begins in December and ends in April.

“I am saddened when the flu turns into loss of life,” Karen Smith, California's state public health officer, said. “It is especially troubling when a baby, too young to be vaccinated, passes away. To protect babies who cannot yet be vaccinated, we should get our flu shots. Preventing the spread of this often deadly disease is why getting vaccinated is so important.”

Infants under a year old are at a higher risk for contracting severe influenza. Until children reach the age of 6 months, they cannot receive vaccinations. Despite this, there are other ways to protect children from the flu.

Health professionals recommend that pregnant women receive vaccinations to protect both the mother and the baby. In addition, people who spend time with the infants, or with anyone else who is at an increased risk for influenza, should receive their vaccinations to decrease the chance of transmitting the flu.

"I urge you to be vaccinated now before the flu really spreads widely to protect yourself and those around you," Smith said.

Organizations in this story

California Department of Public Health Sacramento, CA 95899-7413

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