Houston boy died of flu, becoming city's first flu-related pediatric death of season

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A young boy died of the flu in Houston, marking the city's first flu-related pediatric death of the 2019-2020 season, health officials confirmed Tuesday.

The Houston Health Department said the boy, who had a pre-existing health condition, died in November. A specific age for the child wasn't given, only that he was between six and 10 years old.

The department could not verify if the child had a flu shot for the current season.

"While there is little that can bring comfort to parents coping with the death of a child, this tragic situation serves as a reminder to all parents about the importance of flu vaccination," said Dr. David Persse, local health authority for the Houston Health Department.

The Houston Health Department said for the week ending Dec. 21, 2019, 3.88% of Houston emergency room visits were for flu-like illnesses, compared to 3.53% the previous week.

This is the second announcement in a little over a week about a child dying from the flu.

Last Monday, a boy under age 1 died of the flu in northwest Harris County, which experts said was the county's first flu-related pediatric death for the flu season beginning Oct. 1, 2019.

Doctors are urging residents to get a flu shot to protect themselves and their families.

The agency recommends anyone six months of age and older get a flu shot every year.
Flu season can last as late as May.

Symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, muscle or body aches and fatigue, though doctors warn not everyone who has the flu will have a fever.

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