Home Virginia Department of Health: First pediatric flu death in Virginia reported for season

Virginia Department of Health: First pediatric flu death in Virginia reported for season

Crystal Graham
Sick child
(© Suzi Media – stock.adobe.com)

The Virginia Department of Health reported the state’s first influenza-associated pediatric death for the flu season.

A child (under 5 years old) in Virginia’s Central region has died from complications associated with influenza.

On average, three flu-related pediatric deaths are reported each year in Virginia.

VDH will not provide any further information regarding this death.

“This tragic death reminds us that flu can be a very serious disease, especially in the very young, the elderly, and those with chronic medical problems,” said Colin M. Greene, MD, MPH, state health commissioner. “While we can never stop all cases of flu, the best way to reduce your risk, for people over 6 months of age, is to receive the flu vaccine.”

An updated version of the flu vaccine should be available in the next 60 days, according to Greene.

Virginia observed low to moderate flu activity during the 2021-22 flu season compared to any previous normal flu season. Flu activity in Virginia typically peaks between December and February but can remain elevated into the spring. However, this flu season VDH observed widespread flu activity even in June.

Certain groups are at higher risk for serious illness from flu, including children younger than 5, pregnant women, people age 65 and older, and those with suppressed immune systems or certain chronic medical conditions, such as heart or lung disease.

To locate a seasonal flu vaccine near you, you can visit www.vdh.virginia.gov or contact your local health department.

VDHL Three actions to prevent the flu

  • Get vaccinated every year
  • 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
  • Take antivirals as prescribed by your physician if you do become sick with the flu

For more information on flu in Virginia, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/influenza-flu-in-virginia/.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.