The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark (LGL) District Health Unit is confirming the death of a child from influenza.
"We are aware of a death in our region of a child who had tested positive for flu," said Dr. Linna Li, medical officer of health (acting) for the LGL Health Unit. "We are saddened by this tragic death. Personal health information is not provided because of privacy."
Dr. Li also said the health unit is not aware of any other flu-related deaths in the region, and that death is an infrequent outcome due to influenza infections.
"Estimates vary from hundreds to thousands of Canadians dying from flu infections per year, depending on the severity of the flu season," said Dr. Li. "Children, especially young children, are at higher risk of severe outcomes due to flu infection; this is also true of the elderly, those with chronic health conditions, and pregnant people."
Also, according to health unit data, flu is the primary respiratory virus circulating in the LGL region at this time.
"Because we have not had significant flu circulation in the past two winters, people may be more susceptible to influenza infection than usual," said Dr. Li. "We are currently seeing more cases of flu in the LGL region, and earlier in the year than in typical winter respiratory seasons."
Dr. Li is urging residents to get their flu shot as it is one of the most important ways people can reduce their risk of both flu infection and severe outcomes.
Everyone six months of age and older is eligible.
Dr. Li is also encouraging everyone to stay home when sick, wash hands frequently, wear a mask (which reduces the likelihood that people who are ill will infect others), and frequently clean touched surfaces.