2nd child death of Michigan flu season reported
State health officials have confirmed a second death of a child from influenza in Michigan in the 2018-19 flu season.
The child was identified only as an Alpena County resident in a release this week from the District Health Department No. 4, which has offices there and in Cheboygan, Atlanta and Rogers City. Other details, including gender and age, were not disclosed.
The death came a month after the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported another child from Osceola County had died following infection by influenza A/H1N1.
In the wake of the second death, officials are urging vaccinations for residents aged 6 months or older.
“Flu vaccine is the best way to prevent against getting the flu and can also reduce the severity of flu illness," said Dr. Joshua Meyerson, medical director for the District Health Department No. 4.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there were 79,400 deaths, including more than 180 children, nationwide during the 2017-18 season. It was the deadliest since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.
In Michigan, two children died due to flu-related complications. Officials said only 39.5 of state residents were vaccinated, below the national rate: 41.7.
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' Bureau of Laboratories reported Jan. 19 there were 22 new positive influenza results across the state.
For the flu vaccine, residents are urged to call their health care provider, local health department or check the Health Map Vaccine Finder.