1st child death from the flu this year confirmed in Maricopa County

More than 16,000 cases of the virus have been reported in Maricopa County as of this week.
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 11:56 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The Maricopa County Department of Public Health is confirming the first pediatric death caused by the flu this season in the county.

Health officials didn’t provide the sex or age of the victim, but said the child was not immunized. No other specific details surrounding the death were immediately released. In November, officials in Pinal County reported a pediatric flu death, marking the first such death of the season statewide.

“This incredibly sad case reminds us that even though the flu is common, it can cause serious illness and even death,” said Dr. Nick Staab, medical epidemiologist at Maricopa County Department of Public Health. “This is a tragic reminder that anyone who is able to get the flu shot should, not only to protect themselves but to protect those around them who are at highest risk of severe disease and death from the flu.”

More than 16,000 cases of the virus have been reported in Maricopa County as of this week. Last month, Arizona’s Family reported that the state health officials were witnessing higher-than-average flu activity.

News of the death comes hours after Sonora Quest Laboratories released the availability of a new nasal swab offering a respiratory 3-with-1 combination testing for COVID-19, RSV, and Influenza. Eligible Arizonans can request to take the test through their normal health care provider.

Influenza was the 11th leading cause of death in Arizona in 2019. Every year, 5,000 to 60,000 people die from the flu across the country, depending on the severity of the season.

What can you do to avoid the flu?

  • Get the vaccine as soon as possible. It takes your immune system about 2 weeks to build a defense against the flu
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Avoid touching your mouth and nose
  • Cover your cough in your sleeve
  • Stay home when you are sick

Tap/click here for additional information about this flu season in Maricopa County.