A Murrieta child died of complications stemming from a flu infection, the first documented death of the 2017-18 influenza season in Riverside County, health officials said Friday afternoon.
The victim, identified only as a child under 10 years old, succumbed to the illness Thursday, according to the Department of Public Health.
“This is a tragic reminder that the flu still kills,” county Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser said. “Get your flu shot and get protected.”
Kaiser said it’s still unknown if the child had an underlying condition or compromised immune system, potentially putting the youngster at greater risk.
Flu vaccinations are now being provided at all of the county’s health clinics, many doctors’ offices and pharmacies, according to the health department.
Kaiser said good hygiene, including frequent hand-washing, is key to staving off the flu, and it’s important to steer clear of anyone who may be infected.
The doctor urged parents and guardians to keep their children home from school if they’re infected.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, influenza season generally begins in October and can continue into May.
In the last month, outbreaks of the virus have been recorded in Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Oklahoma, the agency said.
More information is available here.