The New Jersey Department of Health has received notification of a hospital-confirmed pediatric flu-associated death, the second this influenza season in New Jersey. A six-year-old girl from Hudson County died in a North Jersey hospital yesterday. The Department lab will conduct a confirmatory test.
Because of privacy concerns, the Department will not be releasing additional information.
Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal and Acting Commissioner of Education Dr. Lamont Repollet said they were saddened to learn of the death of this child and extend their sympathies to family and friends.
“Stopping the spread of the flu remains a critical public health priority, which is why we have recently launched a significant public awareness campaign within my first few weeks on the job. We take every reported case of a pediatric flu-associated death very seriously,” said Dr. Elnahal.
The Departments of Health and Education continue to recommend that people take the necessary precautions during this flu season: wash or disinfect your hands frequently, cover any coughs and sneezes, stay home and call your health care provider if you are sick (especially with a fever), and get a flu shot.
“While effectiveness of the vaccine varies from year to year, in most people it still provides protection against the flu or severe symptoms if you do get the flu. Flu season can last until May,” Dr. Elnahal said.
Residents can find flu vaccination clinics near them by calling their local health department. Local health department contact information can be found on this site: www.localhealth.nj.gov.
The Commissioners emphasized that schools should continue to protect students and staff by cleaning, disinfecting and sharing prevention tips to prevent the spread of influenza.
The first pediatric flu death this season was a 4-year-old girl from Central Jersey who died in December.
To learn more about flu, please visit https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/flu.shtml