Record flu season has taken another child’s life in Tennessee

FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 file photo, a nurse prepares a flu shot at the Salvation Army in Atlanta. The U.S. government’s Friday, Feb. 9, 2018 flu report showed the flu has further tightened its grip on the U.S. This season is now as intense as the swine flu epidemic nine years ago. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The record flu season has taken another child’s life in Tennessee.

The Tennessee Department of Health reported the death of a seventh child due to complications of influenza so far this season on Monday.

A pregnant woman has also died from the flu during the 2017-2018 season.

Tennessee typically sees two to three pediatric flu deaths per season, though 15 were reported in 2009.

The state health department only tracks pediatric and pregnancy-related flu deaths.

Dr. Joseph Gigante is a professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical School.

He said the pediatric outpatient clinic at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital has been busy keeping up with the number of flu patients coming through the door.

“We have been swamped,” said Gigante. “What we’re seeing in our office is reflecting what is being seen around the city and around the country – lots and lots of children coming in and being diagnosed with the flu.”
Vanderbilt University Medical Center emergency rooms have also been busy treating flu cases.

Between January 6 and February 10, the hospital tested 2,118 patients for influenza.

A total of 365 patients tested positive for different flu strains during that time period.

The Tennessee Department of Health encourages all Tennesseans to get vaccinated if they haven’t yet this flu season.

Additionally, they encourage everyone to stay home when sick, wash hands frequently and cough into a sleeve to prevent the spread of flu.

Some Middle Tennessee schools have been forced to close due to illness. Click here to see the latest school closings.

Nationally, 63 children have died from the flu this season.

The Centers for Disease and Control also reports more than 17,000 people have been hospitalized with confirmed flu since the beginning of October.