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First Child Flu Death Of Season Reported In Massachusetts

BOSTON (CBS) – A teenager from Worcester County has died from the flu. State health officials say it is the first influenza-associated pediatric death of this flu season in the state.

The child tested positive for Influenza B and died earlier this week.

The Department of Public Health is urging people who have not received a flu shot to get vaccinated.

"This is a tragic reminder of how serious the flu can be for both children and adults," said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel. "Every flu season is different, but January and February are typically the height of flu season. We want people to know that it's not too late to get a flu shot."

Last flu season, there were four confirmed pediatric flu-related deaths in Massachusetts.

"What kills people is the complications, so secondary infections, bacterial pneumonias that can occur after someone has had the flu for a number of days," said Dr. Larry Madoff, the state's infectious disease specialist. "Last season, we had the flu up until May, so there's still time to get vaccinated."

So far this flu season, between 2,000 and 3,000 Massachusetts residents have been hospitalized with the flu.

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