Michigan reports first influenza-associated death in children as vaccine coverage dips

Colorized transmission electron micrograph showing H1N1 influenza virus particles. (Photo by: NIH/NAID/IMAGE.FR/BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The first child to die from influenza in Michigan was confirmed by the health department. 

The child contracted influenza A(H1N1), the health department said in a statement this week. It's one of 93 influenza-associated pediatric deaths reported in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there have been between 20,000-57,000 deaths associated with the flu this season. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is seeing a rise in influenza cases, currently, despite only 25.1% of the state's residents being vaccinated against the flu.

"These are tragedies that no family should ever have to endure," said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive. "Each year influenza claims the lives of dozens of children across the United States."

The health department used the opportunity to encourage others to get vaccinated. Anyone over six months of age is recommended to get the seasonal shot to reduce transmission and protect against severe symptoms.

Pregnant people are also encouraged to get vaccinated, protecting them and their baby. 

According to the Michigan Care Improvement Registry, the flu vaccine coverage for kids six months to 17 years is slightly lower than last year's coverage rate. 

The flu isn't the only illness going around in Michigan.

The state is also working to contain possible exposure locations linked to measles cases. At least five in Southeast Michigan have been reported to the health department.

Cases have been reported in Wayne County and Washtenaw County. 


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