• State confirms first "influenza-associated pediatric death" this year

    Updated:

    HAVERHILL, Mass. – The death of a first-grade Haverhill student has been confirmed as the state's first "influenza-associated pediatric death" of the year.

    The Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirms the flu-related death of a child under age 10 living in Essex County, and according to the D.A. the Haverhill girl was the only person who fits that description.

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    A letter sent home with other students in Haverhill called the situation tragic, and said the 6-year-old attended the Golden Hill School.

    “We are all devastated by this news. All of us have questions and are in shock concerning this news,” principal Bruce Michitson said.

    Mass. DPH says this is the first influenza-associated pediatric death in the state this year. As of the latest national flu report on Feb. 3 there have been 63 pediatric flu-associated deaths nationwide.

    "This is a tragic reminder of how serious the flu can be for some people," said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. "Every flu season is different, but every flu season is bad.  This one arrived early and continues to spread, leading many people throughout the Commonwealth to get sick."

    In addition to providing counselors, Superintendent James F. Scully said they cleaned and sanitized the Golden Hill School and are in the process of deep-cleaning all of the other schools.

    "I hope we can all join together to keep this beautiful young lady and her family in our thoughts and prayers," Scully said in a statement.

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