First child flu-related death reported in Harris County, health officials say

HOUSTON — Harris County Public Health officials have confirmed the flu-related death of a local child.

It's the first recorded pediatric death in the area this flu season, which officially started on Oct. 1, 2017. According to officials, flu season can well into late May.

"This death is a somber reminder of the danger the flu poses to our residents, especially those who are more vulnerable to developing serious flu complications," HCPH Executive Director Dr. Umair A. Shah said in a release. "Obtaining a flu shot and taking other preventive measures are you best line of defense against the flu."

In order to protect the family's privacy, the child's name and other details are being withheld.

"This is really a difficult time for the family, as you can imagine," Shah said. "It's a very difficult time. And any time that you're reporting a death it's both somber and tragic."

Parents are encouraged to take every precaution possible to protect their children during a flu season. Basic precautions include washing your hands often to fight off germs.

"We are working with the schools," Shah said. "We are working with our health care partners, and we're ensuring that flu vaccine is out there."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported more than 84 pediatric flu-related deaths across the country since the season started. Health officials encourage parents to have their children vaccinated, especially those between six months and eight years of age.

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