CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resourced confirmed on Wednesday that a West Virginia child has died from the flu.

The DHHR said this is the first child flu death in the state since before the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020. To protect the family’s privacy, no details of the death were released including the child’s name, hometown, county, age and gender. This is one of 16 total child flu deaths in the U.S. during the 2021-22 flu season.

The WVDHHR said that this death should be a reminder to get vaccinated against the flu. Dr. Ayne Amjad, State Health Officer and Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health, said, “While young people with chronic illnesses and compromised immune systems are at increased risk for serious complications, about 40% of children who die from influenza every year have no preexisting conditions.”

“It’s not too late to get your flu shot as influenza is still circulating across the state,” added Dr. Amjad.

Precautions that can help prevent the spread of the flu are similar to the practices that we have gotten accustomed to during the COVID pandemic, such as:

  • Staying home when sick until fever-free for at least 24 hours
  • Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then discarding the tissue promptly
  • Washing hands frequently with soap and water

People who think they might have the flu should contact their doctor immediately.