February 17, 2009
Presumptive Cause of Death of Levittown Student due to Influenza A
The Nassau County Department of Health has been informed by the Nassau County Medical Examiner that the presumptive cause of death in the 10-year-old Levittown student was influenza A. Confirmatory testing will be performed by New York State Department of Health’s Wadsworth Laboratory; results are expected later this week. If confirmed, this would be the first death in a Nassau County child since influenza-associated pediatric mortality became reportable in late 2004.
The Nassau County Department of Health recommends that individuals should get a flu vaccination, if they have not had one this season. Flu has just become widespread in New York State and individuals can still protect themselves by getting vaccinated. People who think they have symptoms of the flu should consult their health care providers. Medications are available to treat the flu.
Symptoms of flu include fever, headache, muscle aches, weakness, runny nose, sore throat and cough with occasional nausea, vomiting and diarrhea in children. The cough is often severe and prolonged. Most people recover in two to seven days.
Nationally, to date in the 2008/2009 flu season, four deaths in children have been related to influenza, including one in New York City, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In the 2007/2008 flu season there were a total of 83 pediatric deaths related to influenza;
in the 2006/2007 flu season there were a total of 68 pediatric deaths related to influenza;
in the 2005/2006 flu season there were a total of 41 pediatric deaths related to influenza;
in the 2004/2005 flu season there were a total of 39 pediatric deaths related to influenza.
The CDC conducts weekly influenza surveillance from October through mid-May. In their weekly summary, the New York State Department of Health reports widespread influenza activity across New York State.
For additional information about the flu, call the Nassau County Department of Health Disease Control Division at (516) 227 – 9700.