The Virginia Department of Health has reported the state’s first child death of the 2021-22 flu season.
Officials say a child, who was younger than 5 and lived in Virginia’s Central region, has passed away from influenza-related complications. VDH will not identify the victim out of respect for the family.
The map below shows which area VDH defines as the Central Region.
“This tragic death reminds us that flu can be a very serious disease, especially in the very young, the elderly, and those with chronic medical problems,” said State Health Commissioner Colin M. Greene. “While we can never stop all cases of flu, the best way to reduce your risk, for people over 6 months of age, is to receive the flu vaccine, an updated version of which should come available in the next 60 days.”
According to VDH, during the 2021-22 flu season, the Commonwealth saw low to moderate flu activity in comparison to any normal flu season prior.
In total, there were 23 flu outbreaks investigated by the VDH in the 2021-22 flu season through July 2022, and there were 6,321 pneumonia, influenza and/or COVID-19-associated deaths reported to VDH as well.
Health officials report that there is an average of three flu-related pediatric deaths reported each year in Virginia.
According to the VDH, Virginia typically sees an increase in flu activity between December and February but it can remain elevated into the spring. However, this flu season VDH observed widespread flu activity even in June.
You can find a seasonal flu vaccine near you on www.vdh.virginia.gov.
VDH recommends taking the following three actions to prevent the flu:
- Get vaccinated every year;
- Practice good public health with hand hygiene (washing your hands regularly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer), respiratory etiquette (coughing and sneezing into a tissue or the inside of your elbow rather than your open hand), and staying home when you feel sick; and
- Take antivirals as prescribed by your physician if you do become sick with the flu.