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Michigan reports first pediatric flu death of season

end of syringe while needle was injected into deltoid muscle and using the cotton to stop bleeding while pulling the needle out
State experts are urging residents to get vaccinated after the first child death linked to influenza was confirmed Friday. (Shutterstock)
  • Michigan confirms the first pediatric death related to influenza this season 
  • Medical experts are urging residents to get vaccinated to protect themselves from the virus 
  • Individuals can get vaccinated at six months old

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed the first pediatric death linked to the flu for 2023-24 season. The child contracted the H1N1 strain of influenza A, the department said Friday.

Influenza-related deaths have been on the rise nationally. So far there have been 103 deaths this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were 182 for the 2022-23 season, 49 during the 2021-22 season, and just one during the 2020-21 season.


The state is seeing a surge in cases according to a report by state. There were 8,873 patient visits to the hospital due to an influenza-like illness out of 147,388 outpatient visits during the week of March 2. 


Only 25% of Michigan residents have been vaccinated against the flu for the 2023-24 flu season, the state reported. It says the goal is to have 4 million Michiganders vaccinated by the end of the flu season and the most recent data suggests about 2.8 million doses have been administered. 

“Each year influenza claims the lives of dozens of children across the United States,”  said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, the state's chief medical executive. “This is why MDHHS continues to strongly recommend that everyone six months of age and older get a seasonal flu vaccine. It’s the best way to protect yourself and your family from getting sick and reduce illness severity if someone does get the flu.”

When people go in to get the COVID-19 vaccine they can also be vaccinated against the flu.

Individuals who contract the flu can get early treatment with an antiviral which can prevent the infection from becoming severe, the state says.

Residents can contact their healthcare providers or local health departments to get more information about where to get vaccinated. 

“Ideally when we vaccinate our children we vaccinate them at the beginning of the season which traditionally is August or September of each year,” said Kira Sieplinga, a pediatric hospitalist for Corewell Health, during a press conference on Monday. “However, the vaccine is still available and still effective, and so we would encourage you all to get your children vaccinated. Some children may need two doses of the vaccine within the same season."

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