HAVERHILL, Mass. - A six-year-old Haverhill girl is the first child in the state to die from the flu this year, and now her school is working to stop the spread of the virus as they try and help students cope with the tragedy.
The young girl, a student at Golden Hill School, died Monday morning.
The state’s Department of Public Health has since released a statement saying a clinical test and symptoms confirmed the child’s influenza, and said the death is a tragic reminder of how serious the flu can be.
“Every flu season can be different, but every flu season is bad,” Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH said. “This one arrived early and continues to spread, leading many people throughout the Commonwealth to get sick.”
Haverhill officials said all schools are being cleaned and sanitized.
“We are all devastated by this news,” principal Bruce Michitson said in a letter sent home to parents. “All of us have questions and are in shock concerning this news.”
Parents tell Boston 25 News they keep reminding their children to take steps to try and prevent getting sick.
“Basically, I just always tell her, ‘Wash your hands before you eat,’ and ‘Don’t share any food,’” parent Jose Martinez said. “Just look out for those things because it can happen easily.”
Last year, two confirmed flu-related child deaths occurred in Massachusetts.
The state said this is the first pediatric influenza-related death this year.
Grief counselors are being made available to students and staff at Golden Hill School.
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