Child in Maricopa County dies from flu

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX -- Health officials have confirmed the first pediatric death in Maricopa County this year due to influenza.

The otherwise healthy child died from the H3N2 strain of influenza A, according to Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

No information about the child was released.

"It is always tragic to have to report a child dying, especially from flu," said Dr. Bob England, director of Maricopa County Department of Public Health. "But as I've been talking about with our recent measles cases, no vaccine is 100 percent effective, and what protects us is not just the vaccine that we receive but the vaccinations of everyone around us. The more people we get vaccinated from these deadly diseases, the less chance they have of spreading."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a few months ago that this year's dominant strain is H3N2, a strain associated with more serious illness in children and older adults. In addition, the CDC reported that this strain had mutated, making this year's vaccine less effective against this strain.

"The vaccine being less effective this year is precisely the reason why we all need to make sure we are vaccinated," England said. "With the seriousness of the strain, having some protection can make the difference between life and death."

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get the flu vaccine.

According to officials, the average annual death toll from influenza is estimated to be about 300 in Maricopa County.

For more information about the flu and its symptoms or where to find a flu vaccine in Arizona, visit StopTheSpreadAZ.org.

RELATED:

Flu hospitalizations of elderly hit record high, CDC says

State health boss: Flu now considered widespread in Arizona

Flu vaccine not working well; only 23 percent effective

1st Pima County pediatric flu death since 2009