A child diagnosed with influenza and other respiratory complications died at a hospital in western Riverside County, health officials said Thursday.
“Any premature death is a tragedy, but the death of a child is particularly difficult,” Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari said. “Our thoughts are with the family, friends and others impacted by the death of this young child.”
The victim, who was under 10 years old, was not identified.
The child had been ill for several days before being admitted to the hospital, officials said.
The minor tested positive for a strain of the flu, as well as respiratory syncytial virus, which has been described as a pulmonary infection that bears traits similar to a cold but can be as detrimental as pneumonia. Children are at highest risk from the contagion, especially when they have preexisting disorders, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adults who are immuno-compromised are also at risk.
The death is the second one involving a child in the current flu season that was linked to RSV.
Officials offered the following recommendations to lower exposure risks:
— frequent hand-washing;
— keep children home when they’re unwell;
— disinfect surfaces regularly;
— cover nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing;
— consider masking to prevent transmission.
More information is available at www.rivcoph.org.