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State health officials blame influenza for death of 2 Michigan children

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

The current flu season has turned deadly for two Michigan children.

They are the first pediatric flu fatalities of the current influenza season.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says children in Shiawassee and Wayne Counties died after being infected with the B strain of the flu. Nationally, 32 children have died from the flu this season.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun is Michigan's Chief Medical Executive. She calls the children’s death a “tragedy.”

“It also underscores the importance of everyone getting their flu vaccines early in the season,” says Khaldun. “Everyone, six months of age and older, should be getting a flu vaccination."

Khaldun stresses, “It’s not too late.”

It takes up to two weeks after the vaccine is administered before the body builds up enough immunity to prevent the flu.

National health experts say this influenza season may be the worst in a decade. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), during last year’s flu season there were an estimated 34,200 deaths from influenza. In Michigan, four children died last year due to flu-related complications, while nationally there were 136 flu-related deaths among children.

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