Yavapai County reports flu-related death of child

Posted: Updated:
By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

YAVAPAI COUNTY, Ariz. -- A child in Yavapai County has died from flu-related complications, according to health officials.

Yavapai County Health Services says an investigation is underway to determine the exact cause of death, but it’s believed to be a result of an influenza-associated illness.

“At this time, YCCHS has no evidence that anyone is at increased risk of serious illness or death as a result of being exposed to this case,” said Yavapai County Community Health Services in a statement Thursday.

The age or gender of the child has not been released.  The CDC has reported at least 29 flu-related pediatric deaths nationwide.

“It’s always a tragedy,” said Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.  “My heart goes out to the family.  Influenza is an unrecognized health threat.”

Humble says the latest numbers show cases in Arizona are spiking and have already surpassed numbers from the last couple of years.

So far, more than 4,600 cases have been reported this season, with laboratory confirmed cases in all 15 counties, according to the Department of Health Services.

“Influenza is really on the rise, in every corner of the State, every age range,” said Humble.

Humble told 3TV this year’s strain is producing more serious symptoms, resulting in more hospitalizations.

Humble says parents need to be concerned if their child displays airway issues or difficulty breathing.

“Look for those signs or symptoms of difficulty breathing,” said Humble. “Stay in contact with your healthcare provider, especially if you have a special needs kid, or your kid has had other health problems in the past.”

Health officials say the vaccination is still the best line of defense.  They advise everyone six months and older to receive a vaccine.  If you are exposed to or caring for someone with the flu, talk to your doctor about preventive antiviral medications, according to Health Services.

You’re urged to stay home if you’re sick for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of a fever-reducing medication.

For more information about the flu, or a look at the latest numbers, visit www.azdhs.gov/flu/index.htm