Second U.S. death from influenza reported

North Dakota state epidemiologist Tracy Miller has reported that a child younger than 10 years old has died as a result of influenza, which is the first flu death this season in the state and the second nationwide.

The child had underlying medical conditions in combination with type A influenza, the Bismarck Tribune reports.

"Even though we rarely see children dying from influenza in North Dakota, this should remind all of us that influenza can be a serious illness and that we should take precautions to prevent the spread of the disease," Miller said, according to the Bismarck Tribune.

The influenza season runs from September 1 to August 31. In North Dakota, it typically peaks between mid-January and early April. There have been 80 cases of influenza this year in the state, which is on par with previous years, the Bismarck Tribune reports. Last year's 3,235 cases reported by January 16 were extremely high due to the H1N1 strain that peaked early in the season.

Molly Sander, the immunization program manager for the North Dakota Department of Health, believes that a child's death is a grim reminder that people should get vaccinated for influenza.

"All children six months of age and older are recommended to be vaccinated against influenza," Sander said, according to the Bismarck Tribune. "Children younger than six months of age are too young to be vaccinated, so it is important for their close contacts and caregivers to be vaccinated to reduce the chance of passing the flu to an unprotected child."

The child who died was unable to be vaccinated for an undisclosed reason, the Bismarck Tribune reports.