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Child dies from flu in Upper Peninsula

Child dies of flu in Upper Peninsula

MICHIGAN (WPBN/WGTU) -- The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed the first pediatric flu death of the 2017-2018 season in the State of Michigan.

According to the department, the reported death involves a child from the Upper Peninsula but officials aren't releasing where in the U.P.

So far, this season there have been 50 flu-associated pediatric deaths reported nationwide.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says this flu season has seen elevated activity across the country with some of the highest hospitalization rates ever recorded.

Health officials say only 44.2 percent of Michigan residents were vaccinated against the flu during the 2016-2017 season, which put Michigan in 33rd place in the country.

Everyone 6 months of age and older is recommended to get a flu vaccine.

“It is not too late to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Eden Wells, Chief Medical Executive for MDHHS. “The vaccine is your best defense against the flu and will help reduce the severity of symptoms if you catch the flu despite being vaccinated. And remember, if you or your child is sick, stay home to help protect others.”

The MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories says more than three-quarters of the positive influenza specimens this season have been an H3N2 virus.

This virus can cause severe flu infections in children, as well as in young and middle-aged adults.

The flu vaccine is especially important for people at increased risk for complications from flu, including children, adults aged 65 years and older, persons of any age with underlying medical conditions and pregnant women.

Children less than 6 months of age are too young to be vaccinated and need to be protected by vaccination of their close contacts, which include parents, siblings, grandparents, childcare workers and healthcare personnel.

Health officials say flu vaccines are still available.

If you have not received your vaccine yet and want to find a flu vaccine center near you, call your healthcare provider, local health department or check the Health Map Vaccine Finder.

To learn more about the flu, click here.

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