A Pierce County child under the age of five died from flu-related complications according to the Tacoma Pierce Health Department, and doctors say it's the same strain of virus that led to the death of a child in King County last week.
Through Saturday, 19 children across the country have died as a result of the virus.
During the 2017-2018 flu season, 187 flu deaths in children were reported nationally, although mathematical models that account for the underreporting of flu-related deaths in children estimate the actual number was closer to 600.
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This year's flu shot protected individuals against 4 different influenza viruses- two A strains, two B strains.
Most flu vaccines available in the United States of America protect people against the 4 different influenza viruses for the 2019-2020 flu season.
The health department and Dr.McPherson say flu shots are key, and it's not too late to get one this season. This is the first reported flu death in a child in King County since the last reported pediatric death in 2009.
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County health officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly advise the annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older, especially in demographics with a heightened risk of serious complications, such as pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions like lung disease and people age 65 or older.
Health officials also haven't said whether the children who died had received a flu vaccine. And those who get sick despite being vaccinated, the illness is likely to be less severe.
Someone who gets the flu after getting a flu shot is still less contagious and should experience fewer symptoms for a shorter period of time. Doctors says the flu season has hit early with triple the hospitalizations over the same time period as a year ago.
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Young said flu cases often increase after the Christmas holidays because it spreads through people traveling.