Officials with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recently reported the first pediatric death related to influenza for the 2015-2016 season.
The death was a child who lived in the Southeast region of Michigan.
The flu has been mild in Michigan this year, but there are still influenza viruses that can cause major sickness, hospitalization and potentially death; approximately three-quarters of influenza samples from the MDHHS have been confirmed as the 2009 H1N1 virus, which causes serious infections in children and young and middle-aged adults.
Health professionals are using this opportunity to encourage parents to have their children vaccinated for the flu, which is especially important for children 6 months old and older. The current influenza vaccines match the influenza viruses for the season.
“We need to do everything we can to prevent pediatric deaths from influenza, and flu is a vaccine-preventable disease,” Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive for the MDHHS, said. “Vaccine is the best way to protect against getting the flu, and there is still time to get vaccinated this flu season.”
Records show that approximately 44 percent of people living in Michigan received their flu vaccinations for the 2014-2015 influenza season.