12-year-old from Milford dies from flu-related illness

Father of 12-year-old from Milford who died from flu-related illness remembers his son

MILFORD, Mass. — A seventh-grade student at Stacy Middle School in Milford has died from flu-related illness, according to Michael Walsh, chairman of Milford’s Board of Selectmen.

Walsh told Boston 25 News the Board of Selectmen was notified of the death around 7 a.m. Thursday.

Twelve-year-old Aaron Zenus was hospitalized for about four days before his death on Wednesday, Walsh said.

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His father Joe Zenus tells us Aaron was the "happiest, luckiest kid you will ever know." He says Aaron got the flu shot in October. On Sunday, he started feeling sick.

"He just had a high fever. He had a fever, and it kept spiking and we gave him Motrin, it kept coming back," said Joe Zenus.

Town officials said there was no noticeable jump in students who showed flu-related symptoms prior to the child’s death

Grief counselors will be at the school Friday to offer support to teachers and students.

"[He ] was a beloved member of our school community,” said Kevin McIntyre, superintendent of Milford Public Schools,  in a statement released Thursday. “Our faculty, students, and families are grieving their student, classmate, and friend. We are focused on supporting our students through this difficult time.”

This is the first flu-related death in Massachusetts this season. Last year, the Centers For Disease Control reported that 185 children nationwide died from flu-related illness.

Friday afternoon, DPH officials announced a second child flu-related death in Framingham.

Dr. Ali Raja, vice chairman of emergency medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital recommends everyone should get a flu shot, if they haven't already, to protect themselves.

"The flu, unfortunately, is especially serious for children and those who have preexisting conditions," Raja said. "Children as young as four can get the flu and if they have preexisting conditions it is worse."

The most recent weekly flu report from the Department of Public Health indicated an increase in rates of flu-like illness in the state.

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