RICHMOND, Va. – A Virginia teen has died from flu complications, the state’s first pediatric flu death of 2019–20 flu season.
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) says the teen is from the state’s Northern region.
“To protect the family’s privacy, VDH will not provide any further information regarding this death,” VDH wrote in a release.
“We offer our condolences and deepest sympathies to this child’s family,” said State Health Commissioner Norman Oliver, M.D., M.A., “Sadly, this is a tragic reminder that flu can be a serious illness, and we encourage everyone to take precautions to protect themselves and others.”
Health officials say the flu has been widespread in the Commonwealth since December 2019.
VDH says they have investigated 61 flu outbreaks during the 2019-20 flu season through February 1, and received reports of 773 pneumonia and influenza-associated deaths.
Health officials say flu vaccination is the most effective protection against flu.
“Even at this time of year, if you haven’t had the flu shot, you should make an appointment and get it. There is still time to protect yourself and your loved ones this flu season,” said Oliver.
VDH recommends taking three actions to prevent the flu:
1. Get vaccinated every year;
2. Practice good public health with hand hygiene (washing your hands regularly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer), respiratory etiquette (coughing and sneezing into a tissue or the inside of your elbow rather than your open hand), and staying home when you feel sick; and
3. Take antivirals as prescribed if you do become sick with the flu.