Michigan reports first two pediatric flu deaths of season

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has confirmed the first influenza-associated pediatric deaths of the 2019-2020 flu season in Michigan. Influenza claims the lives of children every year across the United States. 

MDHHS said the deaths occurred in Wayne and Shiawassee Counties and both children had influenza B.

MDHHS is urging residents to get vaccinated for protection this season.

"These tragic deaths are a reminder of how serious influenza can be," said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for MDHHS. "I urge all Michiganders ages 6 months and older to get their flu shots if they have not already done so this season. It is not too late."

Across the country, there have been 32 flu-related pediatric deaths this season and additional possible cases will be investigated.

Flu is a contagious respiratory disease caused by different strains of the influenza virus and can result in mild to severe illness. Michigan has experienced widespread flu activity over the past few weeks.  A majority of the positive influenza specimens confirmed by MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories this flu season have been Influenza B virus.