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Haverhill officials confirm first-grader died from the flu

17 February 2018, 01:08 | Lucy Hill

RI Department of Health

RI Department of Health

Anyone who's had the flu knows of that particular kind of misery, which can put people out of commission for days - or worse. It's 42 percent effective against influenza B viruses and 67 percent effective against H1N1 viruses, according to the results of a study involving about 4,600 people.

"I've been postponing this for a while, but with the death of a student on Monday, I made a decision to bring my children today", parent Taisha Madero said in reference to the death of 6-year-old Delilah Lovelace, who attended Golden Hill School. "People should continue getting vaccinated and taking other preventive measures to prevent getting sick".

Before today, the effectiveness of this season's vaccine wasn't officially known, but now the CDC says the vaccine is 36 percent effective, overall. The season officially ends in May.

"It's disgusting to see your child with a breathing mask on her face", said Stephanie Calvin, 35, of Mandeville, Louisiana, whose 4-year-old daughter has been sick with flu for four weeks. "Hospitals continue to report large numbers of sick patients and providers are reporting high numbers of patient visits due to flu and flu-like symptoms".

Geographic spread of influenza-like illness (ILI) in Alabama. When well matched to circulating viruses, its effectiveness is about 60 percent.

However, this potential flu killer wouldn't be available at US stores until at earliest 2019.

The CDC also said some western states are seeing a second wave caused by Influenza B. People who have had the flu once can get sick again from a second strain. "That's higher than we typically see for H3N2", Belongia tells The Washington Post.

The CDC said they believe in the USA, a better indicator is the vaccine's effectiveness a year ago.

A vial of flu vaccine
A vial of flu vaccine. Credit RIPR file

Children's vulnerability is of special concern this season.

The Disease Outbreak Control Division's weekly influenza surveillance report for the fourth week of the 2018 flu season, from January 21 to 27, was released on Wednesday.

This flu season has already led to 63 pediatric deaths and higher-than-average rates of illness and hospitalization, Markey said. States are not required to report adult flu deaths. The vaccine was only 25 percent effective against that type.

According to the most recent reports from state health departments, the flu is still a potent force in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Roughly four in five of the children who died had not been vaccinated. Flu shots may also be available through individual physicians and at select pharmacies.

"My wife got nervous after learning about the death of a little girl from Golden Hill", Richard Kanan said.

The vaccine is available to anyone who has not yet received a vaccine this flu season.

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