COLUMBUS — A 3-year-old boy from Highland County in southern Ohio is the state’s first flu-associated pediatric death of the 2018-19 flu season, the Ohio Department of Health reported Tuesday afternoon.
The Highland County Health Department is investigating the death, ODH officials said in a statement.
“It’s not too late to get a flu shot. Getting the flu vaccine is the safest and most effective way to prevent the flu for everyone 6 months and older,” said Sietske de Fijter, state epidemiologist and chief of the ODH Bureau of Infectious Diseases.
“If you are sick with the flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading it to others,” de Fijter said.
Flu activity traditionally begins to increase in October and can last as late as May, with cases typically peaking between December and February.
There have been 1,832 flu-associated hospitalizations reported in Ohio so far this flu season – significantly fewer than the 8,611 reported during the same time frame last year. During the 2017-18 flu season, Ohio reported six flu-associated pediatric deaths.
The number of flu-associated hospitalizations reported in Ohio so far this flu season is tracking below the five-year average.
We will update this developing report as information is made available.