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First pediatric influenza death of the season reported in Wisconsin


A child from Wisconsin has died from influenza.

The state Department of Health Services says it’s the first child in the state to die from the virus this season.

Nationwide, 30 pediatric influenza-associated deaths have been reported.

“DHS is saddened to report the first death of a child from influenza in Wisconsin this season,” said DHS Chief Medical Officer and State Epidemiologist Dr. Ryan Westergaard in a statement. “Flu cases are on the rise throughout the state, and it is important to take steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Flu vaccines are safe and effective, and we urge all eligible Wisconsinites to get their shot as soon as possible. It is the most powerful tool we have to prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death during flu season.”

DHS encourages all Wisconsinites, especially children, to get vaccinated against the flu as soon as possible.

Early data show this year’s flu vaccine is a match to current circulating influenza strains and will prevent or reduce symptoms of influenza infection.

Anyone six months and older is eligible for the flu vaccine.

The flu is circulating in the Northwoods.

The School District of Phelps posted on Facebook that it had to postpone its Christmas Concert because of an “unprecedented number of students out sick with flu and colds.”

The Minocqua J1 School District announced Monday that it would be starting winter break early due to a significant number of student and staff absences due to illness.

All of Wisconsin is experiencing high levels of influenza-like activity.

Aside from getting the flu vaccine, other actions you can take to prevent the spread of influenza include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. 
  • Avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth. 
  • Stay home and away from others if you feel sick. 
  • Avoid being around others who are sick or have flu symptoms. 
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze and encourage children to do the same. 
  • Wear a high-quality mask around others to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses. 

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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