This article appeared in the Lansing State Journal. Read more here.
State officials said Thursday that an Ingham County child’s death was Michigan’s first influenza-associated pediatric death for the 2022-2023 flu season.
The child contracted Influenza A/H3, according to a statement from Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The release did not provide details about the age, name or other health conditions the child may have been experiencing.
MDHHS said that the A/H3 strain is the dominant strain of the virus this season and can cause severe flu infections in children and adults.
Officials promoted public health measures in the release, including getting an annual flu shot.
“It’s not too late to get the flu vaccine,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS’ chief medical executive. “Once children reach six months of age, it is recommended they receive two doses of the flu vaccine for their first series. In addition, pregnant women should get the flu vaccine during each pregnancy. Flu vaccine can be given at the same time as other vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine.”
According to a study from Canada, flu vaccination reduces the risk of influenza-associated medical visits by 54%. Only 33% of Michigan residents have been vaccinated against the flu this season, according to the MDHHS. Pediatric vaccination rates are also 3% lower this season than the 2021-22 season.
The Ingham County child’s death follows at least 111 influenza-associated pediatric deaths throughout the country this season. Since October, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that there have been 25 million to 51 million flu illnesses, 12 million to 25 million flu medical visits, 280,000 to 630,000 flu hospitalizations and 18,000 to 56,000 deaths nationally.