State officials Tuesday confirmed the fourth flu-related pediatric death of the season in Massachusetts, a teen boy from Middlesex County.
The boy’s age, hometown, and identity were not immediately released. The other three fatal flu-related cases in the state this season involved a male adolescent from Worcester County and two girls from Middlesex County, officials said. Those deaths occurred in January and February, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Last season, there was one flu-related pediatric death in Massachusetts, according to the state. There were two pediatric deaths the previous season (2016-2017), according to the state.
“This latest pediatric flu-related death underscores the seriousness of influenza and the need for everyone over the age of 6 months to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Larry Madoff, medical director of the state’s bureau of infectious disease and laboratory sciences, in a Tuesday statement. “Data suggests that we may be past the peak of the flu season, however, it is not over yet.”
Earlier this year, authorities confirmed a 4-year-old girl from Framingham and 12-year-old Aaron Zenus, a middle school student from Milford, both died from the flu. The third child to die from the flu in the state was identified as a 4-year-old girl from Lowell.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths related to flu complications in the United States annually. The state, using federal calculations, estimates between 250 and 1,100 Massachusetts residents die each year from flu complications.
During last year’s flu season, 185 children died from the flu, as reported nationwide to the CDC.
The flu can have very serious complications, including inflammation of the heart, brain, or muscle tissues and multiple organ failure. With the flu, an infection of the respiratory tract can lead to sepsis, according to the CDC.