Canada Flu kills child in Guelph, second child's death may also be from flu

19:21  09 february  2018
19:21  09 february  2018 Source:   cbc.ca

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It is the area' s first pediatric death by flu this season, Dr. Nicola Mercer, medical officer of health and CEO of Wellington Dufferin Guelph view full article.

Public health officials say influenza caused the death of a southern Ontario child , and suspect the virus may also be to blame for a second adolescent death . Wellington-Dufferin- Guelph Public Health said the coroner notified them of the first death on Jan.

a close up of a person: Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health told CBC News one child has died from the flu, the area's first pediatric death by flu this season.© Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health told CBC News one child has died from the flu, the area's first pediatric death by flu this season.

At least one child has died from influenza in Guelph, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health confirms.

It is the area's first pediatric death by flu this season, Dr. Nicola Mercer, medical officer of health and CEO of Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health, told CBC K-W.

A second child has also died, also believed to be from influenza, but that has not yet been confirmed by public health, Mercer said.

Public health has not released the gender or age of the children, but Mercer said they were both under the age of 17.

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Threats to children . The overwhelming majority -- 99% -- of children under age 5 who die from flu -related illness are in developing countries . Children in the developed world may not face such high risks, but they are still vulnerable if they develop flu . Sepsis resulting from flu can cause the death of

A growing number of children are dying from flu . It' s too soon to determine whether the current flu season, which may last until May , will lead to more pediatric deaths than usual. As of Jan.

A parent from Westminster Woods Public School told CBC News the deaths were at her child's school.

"On Wednesday morning, a Grade 7 student from Westminster Woods PS passed away," said a letter to parents — obtained by CBC News, dated Jan. 31. The letter does not say how the child died.

Another letter dated Feb. 6 was sent to parents that said the public health unit has "received calls in recent days about the influenza virus." It did not say anything about flu related deaths.

The parent, who did not wish to be named, told CBC News there has been no notification from the school that the deaths were flu related.

Cases not related

Mercer would not confirm if the deaths were at the same school, but said the cases are not related to one another.

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Most children who get the flu do recover. But thousands are hospitalized every year, and some die from complications. The number of children killed by influenza-related causes per During the 2015-2016 flu season, 92 children died from the flu , with 10 child deaths by this point in the season.

But every year, flu carries away perfectly healthy young adults and children , and tens of thousands of people over 65. The H1N1 flu virus killed 282 U. S . children in 2009-2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. It may have infected 61 million people.

"One child did not get the infection from the other child," Mercer said.

"Influenza is so widely circulating this year, one can get influenza from any environment whether it would be a school or a classroom, or perhaps your hockey game, your dance class, music lessons — anywhere people are you can get influenza."

She said the confirmed death involved the strain influenza B, which is widely circulating in southwestern Ontario. The suspected death was also from strain influenza B.

Mercer also said the strain of B that is circulating is the strain of flu you would be protected from when receiving a flu shot.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said in a report dated Jan. 27 there have been five flu related deaths in children so far this season.

If the second of the two deaths reported by WDG public health is confirmed to be flu related, the total deaths will go up to at least seven in the nation, with two being Guelph children at the same school in less than two weeks.

In Waterloo region there have been 13 flu-related deaths this season.

Julie Kalbfleisch, a spokesperson for Waterloo Region Public Health said "no pediatric deaths related to flu have been reported to us."

As of Tuesday, there have been 6,447 cases of influenza in Ontario.

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