A young child who died after testing positive for influenza is the first pediatric-flu associated death in Riverside County this flu season, health officials said Wednesday.
Authorities have not identified the 4-year-old, who died outside of the county, according to a news release from the Riverside University Health System-Public Health. County health officials just learned of the death late last week.
The child, who was from the southwest part of the county, had no underlying health condition, according to Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the county's public health officer. He or she was not vaccinated against the flu.
“Our condolences go out to the loved ones who have suffered such a great loss. This is a tragic reminder that the flu can still kill, and that children are particularly susceptible to the illness,” he said in the release. “We continue to recommend community members get their flu shot. Get your flu shot and get protected.”
Kaiser noted it's not too late to get vaccinated against influenza. The CDC recommends the vaccine for anyone over the age of 6 months old, he added.
In addition to the inoculation, Kaiser urges everyone to wash their hands frequently and avoid getting close to someone who is ill. Those who are sick should not go to work or school, and are encouraged to stay home instead.
Last flu season in Riverside County, the deaths of 23 people aged 64 or younger were linked with the flu, according to the release. Nationally, 80,000 people in that age group died after contracting the virus.
More information about the flu, as well as where to get vaccinated in Riverside County, can be found at www.rivcoimm.org.