DHH confirms child flu death
BATON ROUGE - The Department of Health and Hospitals confirmed today that a child in northwest Lousiana died after coming down with the H1N1 strain of flu.
A DHH press release said the child died at a Shreveport hospital this week. They said this was the first pediatric flu death confirmed in the state.
"It is important we all remain vigilant for symptoms of flu-like illness, and be serious about taking preventative measures against the spread of flu," said DHH Secretary Kathy Kliebert.
DHH said H1N1 is one of several flu strains circulating the state during this recent spike in flu activity. They said all have the potential to be deadly, and the state's flu season is expected to last into April.
According to the state's most recent influenza surveillance data, flu symptoms accounted for about 7.6 percent of the state's doctor visits last week. DHH strongly encouraged anyone who hasn't been vaccinated against the flu already to do so.
"The flu shot only takes a few days to be effective, and people are usually protected completely within 7-to-10 days of getting the flu vaccine," said J. T. Lane, assistant secretary for Public Health. "Vaccines are the best preventive measure we have to help fight the spread of this illness. This year's vaccination will protect against the seasonal flu and the H1N1 virus."
For more information about fighting the flu, visit DHH's flu website.