Within the past week, two influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported in Michigan. These deaths are a somber reminder of the danger flu poses to children. The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a seasonal flu vaccine each year.
One death was in a 6-month-old from southwest Michigan and the second death was in a 13-year-old from the central region of the state. Nationally, eight influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported. Children less than 6 months of age cannot get a flu vaccine. The best way to protect infants from the flu is to vaccinate those around them, including parents, siblings, grandparents, day and childcare workers, and health care personnel.
“While it’s too early to tell how severe our season might be, there’s no doubt that we’ve seen more cases already this year than we typically do,” said James K. Haveman, director of the MDCH. “It’s not too late to get vaccinated before Michigan’s flu season peaks.”
In addition to the two flu-associated pediatric deaths in Michigan, there have been 149 positive influenza cases confirmed at the MDCH Bureau of Laboratories (BOL). This number does not represent all the influenza cases diagnosed and reported in Michigan, as additional cases have been confirmed at laboratories throughout the state.
Vaccination should be occurring now and continue throughout the entire flu season and there is an ample supply of flu vaccine available.
For more information about the flu, visit www.michigan.gov/flu