3rd child dies of flu in city as case number jumps: Health officials

A third child has died from the flu in New York City this season, which spans from October to May, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The city health department could not provide specifics about the child, but urged parents to get themselves and their children vaccinated.

"The tragic death of a child due to the flu is a reminder of the devastating effects this illness can have on people of all ages. The influenza season is far from over, and it is not too late to get the flu shot," the department said in an emailed statement. "In addition to health care settings, flu vaccines are also available at pharmacies for children as young as 2 years old."

On Monday, the city health department confirmed the death of an 8-year-old Queens girl was related to the flu. Another child in the city died in January, according to city and state health officials. 

During the 2016-2017 flu season, there were eight pediatric deaths in New York, six of which occurred in the city, according to officials.

The number of new flu cases in New York City for the week ending on Feb. 3 was 6,099 - up from 4,282 new cases recorded the week before, per the state health department.

A total of 19,333 influenza cases have been reported in New York City so far this season, as of Feb. 3. That's up from the 13,231 cases recorded on Jan. 27.

New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett on Tuesday called the flu that is most commonly going around this season a "wily virus," and urged New Yorkers to get the flu shot.

Across the state, meanwhile, there was a 35 percent jump in the number of new flu cases, with 15,753 people sickened between Jan. 27 and Feb. 3. This is the third-straight week that the state health department recorded the highest number of new cases since reporting began in 2004.

As the total number of flu cases in the state climbed to 52,567, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday directed state Department of Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker to authorize additional funding to county health officials so that they can expand access to the flu shot. 

"As flu diagnoses and hospitalizations continue to increase to epidemic proportions, this administration is doing everything in its power to protect New Yorkers from this especially durable strain of influenza," Cuomo said. "I ask all New Yorkers to take advantage of this expanded access to flu vaccines and join us in slowing down and stopping the spread of this virus in the Empire State."



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