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Connecticut’s first flu-related pediatric death reported by officials

HARTFORD – The State Department of Public Health announced a child died from the flu for the first time this season.

“Oh it’s heartbreaking,” said Cheryl Jackson of Avon.

That is the reaction of a mother of an 11-year old boy after learning the devastating news of the flu taking the life of a child.

Officials were not able to provide additional details surrounding the child’s death, but they are urging all children to get vaccinated with it being the peak season now.

Influenza Surveillance Coordinator Alan Siniscalchi with the Department of Public health said this year’s flu season is much milder than last year.

“Last year, which is one of our most active flu seasons, we had a total of 184 total flu-associated deaths and of those, there were three pediatric-flu associated deaths,” said Siniscalchi.

According to the Department of Public Health, there have been flu-related deaths in Connecticut for people 18 or younger since January 2005.

Siniscalchi said a person’s health played a big role.

“So if a child has any underlying condition such as asthma, diabetes, neurological conditions, they’re a little more at risk for a development of a more severe flu-associated illness,” added Siniscalchi.

Carla Peralta is a mother of two toddlers and she said she has always gotten her children vaccinated since they were born.

“We pretty much get it because I feel like that’s good for us because we get it every year and it’s just been working for us pretty well,” said Peralta of South Glastonbury.

Cheryl Jackson, on the other hand said she only vaccinated her son when he was younger, but no longer does.

“I guess it’s a lot of chemicals. I feel like he has a very strong immune system and I know if he does get sick, I just do a very good job of keeping him well hydrated,” said Jackson of Avon,.

Officials said the flu season will continue on for at least a month or two, so they are urging parents to get her children vaccinated with hopes of preventing another death.

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