A second New Jersey child has died from influenza complications this season, Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said in a news release Tuesday.
The New Jersey Department of Health confirmed on Friday that flu was a contributing factor in the death of a North Jersey toddler. The child died earlier this month, but after consultation with the CDC and review of lab testing results, the Department was able to confirm last week that flu was a contributing factor. For reasons of medical privacy, the Department will not be releasing additional information.
“This sad news is a reminder that children, the elderly, and people with certain health conditions are at high risk for serious flu complications,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal. “Flu activity remains high throughout the state. Getting the flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the illness.”
The Department of Health also recommends that people take the necessary precautions during this flu season: wash or disinfect your hands frequently, cover any coughs and sneezes, stay home and call your health care provider if you are sick (especially with a fever).
Dr. Elnahal added “Vaccination is critical for health care workers to protect patients, caregivers, and themselves.”
The New Jersey Department of Health works closely with the healthcare and public health community to conduct surveillance for seasonal and novel influenza, promote annual influenza vaccinations, respond to season influenza outbreaks, and plan and prepare for the occurrence of novel influenza.
The first pediatric flu death this season was a child from the central region of the state who died in late December.
Residents can find flu vaccination clinics near them by calling their local health department or by visiting cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/flu-finder-widget.html.
To learn more about flu, visit nj.gov/health/cd/topics/flu.shtml