By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun
6:08 PM EST, January 18, 2013
A Baltimore area child who died in December has tested positive for influenza, state health officials announced Friday, declaring it the first pediatric flu death in Maryland this winter.
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene declined to release any other details about the case, beyond saying that influenza was confirmed through laboratory tests, and that the child had an underlying health condition.
This is the first influenza-associated death of a Maryland child since the 2009-2010 flu season, according to the department, when two youths died. The health department said it does not have data on adult influenza-related deaths.
Officials reported an uptick by the end of last week in the number of emergency department visits for influenza-like illness, as well as in the number of people reporting influenza-like illness in the state's tracking survey. Flu-associated hospitalizations were down, however, the department said, as was the rate of positive lab tests.
Health authorities continue to recommend people get vaccinated against influenza, and that anyone with flu-like symptoms of cough and fever, plus sore throat, stay home from work or school.
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