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Ohio's first pediatric flu death this year is a Northeast Ohio infant


Ohio has reported its first child influenza-related death of the flu season – an eight-month-old male from Ashland County, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) announced Friday.

The Ashland County Health Department investigated the death of the infant, according to the release.

Although individuals of all ages are susceptible to influenza, children under the age of 2 and adults over 65 are at a higher risk for serious complications, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In Ohio, the pediatric age group – ages 19 and under – accounts for 17% of all flu-related hospitalizations this season, according to ODH data. There have been 166 flu hospitalizations in this age group this year.

Overall, the state has reported 972 flu hospitalizations, a steep increase from last year’s reported 109.

However, last year’s count was likely unusually low due to widespread COVID-19 precautions like masking and social distancing, officials said in the news release.

This year’s data is on track with the 10,540 hospitalizations reported at this time during the flu season that was wrapping up when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, according to the release.

The state does not track adult deaths – only hospitalizations. So far this year, there have been 72 total flu-related hospitalizations in Cuyahoga County, 53 in Stark and 10 in Summit counties.

Flu season can last through the spring but typically peaks between December and February, according to the CDC.

Copyright 2022 WKSU. To see more, visit WKSU.

Anna Huntsman is a senior broadcast journalism student at Kent State with experience reporting for radio, television and digital platforms. She reports for the Ohio News Connection, Ohio's branch of the Public News Service, and helps run the weekend assignment desk at WKYC. Anna served as the General Manager of TV2, Kent State's student-led television station, during the 2017-18 school year. A Canton native, she is excited to join the WKSU team and tell stories in the Northeast Ohio community.