Two SLCo children have died from the flu this season, health department says

Jan 9, 2024, 10:09 AM | Updated: 12:45 pm

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An influenza vaccine is pictured at a free vaccine clinic at the Sanderson Community Center in Taylorsville on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — According to the Salt Lake County Health Department, two children under the age of 18 have died from the flu in the past month. 

The deaths are the first confirmed deaths of minors related to the flu of the 2023-24 influenza season, according to a press release from the SLCo Health Department. 

“These deaths are a tragic reminder that influenza is a serious disease,” said Dr. Angela Dunn, executive director of the health department, in the release.

According to the SLCoHD, three people over the age of 50 have also died from the flu this year. The health department said none of the deceased had received vaccination this season. 

Per medical privacy laws, the health department said it will not be releasing additional details about the details. 

Preventing the spread

Dunn said that everyone aged six months and older should get their annual flu vaccine. It can prevent serious illness and the spread of the flu. 

Since Oct. 1, 353 people in Salt Lake County have been hospitalized due to the flu. Officials said that this season has been unusual, as multiple strains are active. 

Ryan Chatelain, a SLCo epidemiologist, said that usually, there is only one strain responsible for the majority of influenza cases. 

“But this year, we have three strains actively circulating in the middle of the season,” said Chatelain. 

The health department said the current vaccine covers all of the actively circulating strains.

“Vaccination is the best defense against being hospitalized or dying from the flu,” said Dunn. 

The health department said frequent hand washing can prevent the spread of the flu, as well as RSV and COVID-19.

Additionally, the department said to stay home if you’re sick. 

Related:Take these steps to stay safe this flu season

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Two SLCo children have died from the flu this season, health department says