SEATTLE — Public Health Seattle & King County (Public Health) reported Wednesday the first pediatric flu death of the 2022-2023 flu season.
Public Health said an elementary-school-aged child passed away on Nov. 13 due to complications from the flu. It is the first reported pediatric flu death in King County and Washington state this season and the first in the county since the 2019-2020 flu season.
Public Health said it has seen an early and rapidly increasing flu activity this year compared to past seasons. The department said the death comes at a time during increased hospitalizations for respiratory viruses among children locally and nationally.
“It’s tragic to lose a child to illness, and our hearts go out to this child’s family and loved ones,” said Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin.
Public Health is urging residents to get the seasonal flu vaccine and updated COVID-19 booster as the holiday season kicks off.
"Now is a good time for children and adults to get an annual flu vaccine if not already vaccinated, and to take steps to protect those who may be at higher risk, including staying away from others when we are ill," said Duchin.
So far this flu season, the Washington State Department of Health has reported four adult flu-related deaths. Since the 2019-2020 season, there have been 140 flu-related deaths reported in the state.
The department shared these guidelines to help prevent illness and protect those who are most vulnerable
- Flu shot: Everyone six months and older should get a flu shot every year
- COVID booster: Everyone five years and older who received a COVID-19 shot at least two months ago is eligible and should get the updated booster
- Wash hands regularly
- Wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask when in indoor public spaces
- If you’re sick – even if you test negative for COVID-19 – stay home