Wisconsin health officials confirm first pediatric influenza-related death this season


State well being officers on Tuesday confirmed the primary pediatric flu-related loss of life in Wisconsin this winter.

The state Division of Well being Companies declined to supply extra particulars on the case, together with the kid’s age. Tom Haupt, DHS’s Influenza Surveillance Coordinator, mentioned on a name with reporters that the kid was from western Wisconsin and mentioned there was no proof that the kid had obtained a vaccine this yr.

Haupt mentioned the pediatric loss of life brings the state’s whole influenza-related loss of life depend to not less than 40 folks this season.

He mentioned Wisconsin sees a mean of three to 4 pediatric deaths throughout a typical flu season. However these numbers have been down in recent times due to well being precautions taken in opposition to COVID-19.

Nationwide, there have been 30 pediatric influenza-associated deaths reported to date within the 2022-23 season.

Haupt mentioned all youngsters who aren’t vaccinated are susceptible to influenza. However the age vary of kids most affected by the virus will depend on the dominant pressure for the yr.

“When you’ve got an Influenza A (H3) yr, which is what we’re in proper now, you are likely to have the marginally older youngsters. Whereas if it was Influenza B or Influenza A (H1), it could are likely to hit the very younger youngsters together with infants,” he mentioned.

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Haupt mentioned this yr’s flu season began early and has been extreme. However he mentioned there are some optimistic indicators that the season is also reaching its peak early.

“Whereas the circumstances have elevated, they don’t seem to be growing on the drastic price that it has been over the previous few weeks,” Haupt mentioned. “So there’s hope that we’re getting near the height exercise and hopefully inside a few weeks we’ll be on the decline.”

Haupt mentioned the pediatric loss of life ought to be a wake-up name for extra folks to get their flu shot, particularly earlier than gathering for the vacations or touring to see household. He mentioned officers are anticipating the variety of circumstances to extend after the vacations. He mentioned persons are inspired to get the vaccine or keep house in the event that they’re feeling sick to be able to defend their family members.

“The viruses which might be spreading round are very comparable or are precisely the identical as what’s within the vaccine. That offers us hope that we’re going to have an excellent vaccine efficacy yr,” Haupt mentioned.

He mentioned round 33 p.c of Wisconsinites have gotten their flu shot, a decline from final yr and a p.c that Haupt known as “disappointing.”

DHS encourages everybody 6 months and older to get the flu vaccine, particularly people who find themselves at higher threat of turning into critically ailing, similar to those that are pregnant, age 65 and older, and people with power well being situations.