Child dies from flu as cases in Tarrant County increase, health officials report

flu shot
Tarrant County Public Health officials want to remind people to get a flu shot, saying it's not to late this year to get one. (Courtesy Fotolia)

Tarrant County Public Health officials want to remind people to get a flu shot, saying it's not to late this year to get one. (Courtesy Fotolia)

Tarrant County health officials reported that a child has died from the flu this season—the first reported pediatric death in the county since 2015, according to a news release.

Statewide, there have been three other pediatric deaths this flu season, according to the Dec. 5 release from Tarrant County Public Health.

“Because of the sensitive nature of the information, we can’t share any other details, other than to say that the child had underlying health conditions,” said Vinny Taneja, Tarrant County Public Health director, in the release. “The patient tested positive for Influenza B, which is circulating early and predominantly this season.”

Flu season officially started Sept. 29. The number of flu cases has risen sharply in recent weeks, with more cases being reported at this point in the season compared with the previous two years, officials said.

The percent of patient visits in Tarrant County attributed to influenza-like illnesses increased from 3.9% during the week that ended Nov. 16 to 5.3% for the week that ended Nov. 23, data showed. Additionally, about 13.8% of rapid flu tests came back positive in Tarrant County during the week that ended Nov. 23.

About 5.7% of school absences in Tarrant County during that same week were attributed to the flu, county data showed.

Influenza-like illness is defined as having a fever above 100 degrees along with a cough and/or sore throat, according to the health department.

“We want to remind everyone to get their flu shot,” Taneja said in the release. “It’s definitely not too late, and the vaccine offers you the best protection against getting the flu.”
By Valerie Wigglesworth
Valerie has been a journalist for more than 30 years. She is currently managing editor for DFW Metro for Community Impact Newspaper.


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