BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts health officials on Thursday reported the first child flu death in the state this season - a teenager who lived in Worcester County.
The Department of Public Health said tests recently confirmed the teenager died of the flu and tested positive for influenza B.
Officials did not release any other information, including exactly where and when the teenager died.
Federal health officials say there have been 39 flu-related child deaths across the country this flu season. During the last flu season, four people under 18 years old in Massachusetts died from the flu.
Dr. Monica Bharel, the state’s public health commissioner, said the teen’s death is a reminder of how serious the flu can be for both children and adults.
“I feel immense sorrow for the family of this child,” Bharel said in a statement. “Every flu season is different, but January and February are typically the height of flu season. We want people to know that it’s not too late to get a flu shot.”
Officials recommend washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home when sick to limit the spread of the disease.
The health department said 2,000 to 3,000 Massachusetts residents have been hospitalized with the flu this season.
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