First Travis County child dies of flu

First Travis County child dies of flu

Posted: Updated:

The flu has taken another life here in Travis County. This time it's a child.

Dr. Phil Huang, medical director for Austin-Travis County Health and Human Services says the ninth flu death in the county this season is also the first pediatric death.

The county isn't saying how old the child was or any other details...just that they had some underlying health conditions -- conditions that sometimes make you more susceptible to the more severe complications of the flu.

"H1N1 has been associated with the younger population but also those that have other conditions. For instance, pregnancy, severe obesity and other chronic conditions...and we have been reporting also that one of our 9 deaths was a pregnant woman," Huang said.

The county says the virus is having a larger effect than usual in younger people. Much like in 2009 when there were high numbers of severe flu cases in people under 60.

Of this season's 9 deaths, 6 of them were under the age of 60...3 were over 60...and as Dr. Huang said, one of the 9 was a pregnant woman.

Those who were in Austin in 2009 may remember the tents some local hospitals had set up outside of the hospitals to keep the virus contained.

Huang says he hasn't heard of any local hospitals taking that measure yet this flu season.

But the hospitals are staying busy.

"I think we had 58 reports from 6 of the area hospitals, people that are actually in the ICU in the Intensive Care Unit for influenza-like illness," he said.

Kathy Cavin is a nursing supervisor at the "Shots for Tots" clinic at St. John's Community Center in North Austin.

She says they've been giving the vaccine constantly since they got it in September.

"We've been busy, we have added a nurse that's doing nothing but flu shots," Cavin said.

Emma Uribe got her kids vaccinated on Wednesday.

"It is sad for someone to lose their child. Maybe if they would have vaccinated the child in time, this wouldn't have happened," Uribe said.

Dr. Huang says whether the child that died was vaccinated or not -- isn't something they can release to the public.

Uribe says her message for other parents is to get their children vaccinated...there's still time.

LINKS:

http://www.austintexas.gov/department/influenza

http://austintexas.gov/immunizations

http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/idcu/disease/influenza/overview/

To make an appointment for a flu shot at our Shots for Tots Clinic call 512-972-5520.

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