What to Know
- A Maryland child is dead in what the Maryland Department of Health said Monday is the first flu-related pediatric death in the state.
- The death is the latest in an outbreak that has caused officials to categorize influenza’s presence as high and widespread in the region.
- Flu activity in Maryland has increased since December.
A child has died of flu-related causes in Maryland, marking the first flu-related pediatric death in the state for this flu season.
Neither the child's name nor age was released by the Maryland Department of Health.
The death is the latest in a national outbreak. Officials are urging people to get flu shots.
Hospitals are required to disclose pediatric flu-associated deaths. Fifty-three had been recorded in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest report.
“Influenza is an extremely serious, and sometimes deadly, disease, and this flu season has been proven to be particularly severe,” Dr. Howard Haft, the deputy secretary for Public Health Services, said in a statement. “We’re continuing to urge Marylanders to get their flu shots, stay home from work if they are sick, and practice other preventative measures to stop the spread of flu.”
Flu activity in Maryland has increased since December, according to a state health department news release. The first case confirmed in a lab was discovered in November.
There are several tests that can be used to diagnose influenza. A nasal swab, a rapid diagnostic test, is between 50 and 70 percent effective in diagnosing the flu, the CDC said.
As a result of the death, health officials are reminding the public that the virus that causes the flu spreads from interaction with other people through sneezing and coughing and contact with infected people or contaminated surfaces and objects.
Symptoms, which range from fevers, body aches, fatigue, coughing and a sore throat, usually appear between one and four days after someone is exposed to the virus, according to the release.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests avoiding contact with sick people and washing hands often to prevent the spread of the flu.