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Flu victim identified as 4-year-old girl from Lowell

The third child to die from the flu in Massachusetts has been identified as a 4-year-old girl from Lowell.

The death was reported to the state Department of Public Health on Feb. 19.

The girl’s father, Sopheak Paak, posted a photo of his daughter on his Facebook page and wrote, “I miss you my baby.”

Lowell General Hospital released a statement expressing condolences to the girl’s family.

“We offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family over the tragic loss of their daughter,” hospital officials said in the statement. “Patient privacy rules prohibit us from commenting any further at this time.”

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The child’s wake is scheduled for Friday at 3 p.m. at Glory Buddhist Temple in Lowell, and her funeral will be held Saturday morning, according to a notice on the McDonough Funeral Home website.

Earlier this year, authorities confirmed a 4-year-old child from Framingham and 12-year-old Aaron Zenus, a middle school student from Milford, both died from the flu.

State health officials said reports of flu-like illnesses and flu-related hospitalizations have leveled off in the last few weeks, but they continue to urge people to get vaccinated because peak flu activity usually lasts through March.

“January and February are typically the height of the flu season, and flu-related complications can result in very serious, life-threatening illness and even death, among both children and adults,” said Dr. Larry Madoff, director of epidemiology and immunization in the Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences at the state Department of Public Health.

“These deaths are tragic and are a reminder of the dangers of flu and the importance of flu vaccination, our best protection against illness. The Department of Public Health urges people to get vaccinated, to wash their hands, cover their cough and sneeze and stay home when sick to limit the spread of disease.”

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State health officials estimate that 250 to 1,100 Massachusetts residents die annually from flu complications.

Last year (2017-2018), there was one flu-related pediatric death in Massachusetts. There were two pediatric deaths the previous season (2016-2017), according to the state Department of Health.


Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.