Originally Published: January 23, 2013 7:45 a.m.
A child has been pronounced dead in a Verde Valley hospital from an influenza-associated illness, according to Yavapai County Community Health Services.
County Epidemiologist Stephen Everett said the child likely died from a related disease - not the flu itself - after the original infection weakened the child's ability to resist infection.
Though most cases of influenza in otherwise healthy people can result in an uncomplicated illness, sometimes flu can open the door for another, more serious infection, which may have occurred in this case. At this time, YCCHS has no evidence that anyone is at increased risk of serious illness or death as a result of being exposed to this case.
Everett characterized the current flu season as "moderate to extreme," and noted that many people are experiencing symptoms that are "more severe than usual."
He also emphasized that, with several strains of influenza currently present, vaccination is the best way for everyone older than 6 months to protect against the flu. And if someone, particularly a child or elderly person, has symptoms that return after seeming to go away, get that person to a doctor as soon as possible.