A weekly influenza surveillance report prepared by the influenza division by the CDC. Photo courtesy of CDC.

A weekly influenza surveillance report prepared by the influenza division by the CDC. Photo courtesy of CDC.

King County child dies from flu; increasing number of flu-like illnesses in Washington State

Influenza B virus is the predominant strain circulating now, which is unusual for this time of year according to CDC.

A King County child died due to complications from the flu earlier this month.

It was the first known case of a pediatric flu-related death in the county since 2009, public-health officials said.

The child was previously healthy and died on Dec. 15 in a Pierce County hospital. There have also been three reported flu-related adult deaths in King County to date in the 2019/2020 flu season, public-health officials said.

“Losing a child to influenza is heartbreaking and I want to extend our deep sympathy to the family,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, at a news conference. “This death is a tragic reminder of how serious influenza can be — especially in this season, we’re seeing a virus impacting children particularly hard.”

Influenza B virus is the predominant strain circulating now, which is unusual for this time of year according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The strain is particularly dangerous for young children.

The influenza B strain typically comes later in the flu season and tends to cause more severe illnesses in children relative to adults, Duchin said.

“What’s happening now is that we haven’t seen this particular strain of Influenza B in many years,” Duchin said. “Because of that, there’s probably not a lot of immunity in the population to this virus so far. So, it’s likely going to cause many illnesses and many serious infections.”

Duchin declined to say whether the child who died had been vaccinated. However, he said each year, 80 to 90 percent of children who die from the flu were not vaccinated. The CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 4.6 million flu illnesses, 39,000 hospitalizations and 2,100 deaths from flu. A total of 22 influenza-associated pediatric deaths occurred during the 2019-2020 season.

Sixteen deaths were associated with influenza B viruses and six deaths were associated with influenza A viruses.

Local hospitals, like Snoqualmie Valley Hospital, are seeing a rise in patients with flu-like symptoms, though only about 10 percent tested positive for influenza.

People who get the flu can be contagious a day before symptoms develop and up to a week after becoming sick, according to Public Health. Symptoms include fever, cough, weakness and body aches.

“Unlike a regular cold, the flu comes on suddenly,” said Dr. Alan Johnson, Snoqualmie Ridge Medical Clinic physician. “If you think you have the flu, see your doctor right away. It is treatable for the first two or three days only. If you wait, the virus goes through your system and it can take up to three weeks to recover.”

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@valleyrecord.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.valleyrecord.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Valley Shuttle. Photo courtesy of Snoqualmie Valley Transportation’s Facebook page.
Five-year transit plan in the works for the valley

Snoqualmie Valley Transportation outlines multiple goals for area’s towns and cities.

A site plan for the Snoqualmie Valley Athletic Center. Provided by the city of North Bend
Snoqualmie Valley Athletic Center could be completed by February

Construction on the project is expected to begin on Sept. 14.

Seven decades later, the search for two missing Navy pilots continues

The pilots are thought to have disappeared near Black Lake, northeast of North Bend.

The truck of the Renton family as it was found Tuesday. While fleeing the Cold Springs Fire two adults were severely burned and one toddler died. Courtesy photo/Okanogan Sheriff’s Office
Toddler killed as Renton family flees Cold Springs Fire

The parents were severely burned and are being treated at Harborview Medical Center

A view of the Palmer Fire, located seven miles southwest of Oroville in north central Washington. Source: InciWeb
Antifa isn’t starting Washington wildfires

Online conspiracy theories are spreading as the West Coast burns.

A plane drops fire retardant on the Palmer Mountain Fire last week. The fire is listed as 84 percent contained, and fully lined. Laura Knowlton/Sound Publishing staff photo
Threat multiplier: How climate change, coronavirus and weather are scorching WA

Dry summer conspired with the pandemic and a wind storm.

Screenshot from the state Employment Security Department’s website at esd.wa.gov.
Workers may qualify for an extra $1,500 in unemployment back pay

A federal program will give some of the state’s unemployed a $300 weekly bump for the past five weeks.

Screenshot of the air quality monitor at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 8. Courtesy Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.
King County faces unhealthy air quality due to wildfire smoke

Weather monitors recommend people limit time outdoors, especially children, seniors and those with heart or lung disease.

Most Read