Preschool-Aged Child First Flu Death in Va.

Friday, Jan 17, 2014  |  Updated 9:49 PM EDT
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Virginia reported its first pediatric death of the flu season. News4's Kristin Wright reports.

Kristin Wright

Virginia reported its first pediatric death of the flu season. News4's Kristin Wright reports.

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A Virginia Department of Health spokesperson says a child has become the commonwealth's first flu death of the year.

The preschool-aged child died in Northern Virginia, Dr. Laurie Forlano, the Virginia Department of Health Deputy state epidemiologist, confirmed.

Due to confidentiality guidelines, many details about the child's death have not been released.

This year's flu season is in full swing, causing a rise in hospitalizations and deaths across the country. So far, 10 pediatric flu-associated deaths have been reported in the county, according to the CDC. Reports of the flu are particularly widespread in the southern part of the U.S., including Virginia. Maryland and D.C.'s flu rates are still relatively minimal.

The predominant strain affecting the country is H1N1, also known as swine flu.

Back in 2009, an H1N1 pandemic killed over 200,000 people worldwide. Swine flu is not expected to pose a similar danger this time because the current flu vaccine includes protection against H1N1. But the CDC warned that the 2013-2014 season will be most dangerous to young- and middle-aged adults, as it was in 2009. By contrast, common seasonal influenza victims are children and those over the age of 65.

As of early January, the CDC documented 2,622 influenza-related hospitalizations for the season.

The CDC recommends getting immunized and washing your hands, among other measures.

Lavya Yalamanchi contributed to this report.

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