Second child in Massachusetts dies from flu-related illness

State health officials sending out warnings after second child dies from flu-related illness

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed on Friday a second child in the state has died from a flu-related illness.

The most recent death to be confirmed was a 4-year-old girl in Framingham.

Boston 25 News first reported on Thursday a 12-year-old student at Stacy Middle School in Milford died from a flu-related illness.

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Both children died in the past week.

State health leaders said the cases appear to be unrelated.

"It's unfortunately a tragic set of events but one that we see almost every year here in the state where there are children, many of them previously completely healthy, who contract influenza and then die as a result of complications of the flu," Dr. Larry Madoff, director of the DPH Division of Epidemiology and Immunization, said.

"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," Dr. Larry Madoff, Director of Epidemiology and Immunization in the Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health said. "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."

Last year, one child from Massachusetts died from a flu-related illness.


Mass. Dept. of Public Health holding news conference after two children have died this week of flu-related illnesses.

Posted by Boston 25 News on Friday, February 1, 2019

In Massachusetts, Type A flu numbers are up nearly 45 percent from this time last year, and Type B flue numbers are down, on the other hand.

Guy Criscenzo, a parent of two Framingham boys, said he's also come down with the flu, and had to stay home from work as a result. He said he was also heartbroken after the death.

"I think it's awful, I can't imagine as a parent," Criscenzo said. "This is the first time I've been sick in a long time."

According to the Massachusetts Department of Health, there are 7,335 confirmed cases of Type A flu, with 198 confirmed cases of Type B flu.

Even with widespread flu across Massachusetts, there are those like Carrie-Ann White, a nurse, who are skeptical of the flu vaccine.

"I don't see our vaccine as actually helping this year," White said. "It's actually working for flu B, not flu A."

Though state health officials are urging people who haven't had the flu vaccine to get it, and say to stay home if they feel flu symptoms.

They say, at this point, it's unclear if flu season has peaked yet.