(CBS) — A child in Florida has become the first person to this season, according to state health officials. State epidemiologists say the child had not been vaccinated and was otherwise healthy before getting sick with the .
The child, who tested positive for influenza B, died sometime during the week of Sept. 30, although privacy concerns prevent officials from saying exactly where, CBS affiliate WTSP reports.
Last flu season, 183 children in the U.S. died from flu or flu-related causes. That’s the most since the CDC began keeping these records in 2004. Overall, an estimatedlast season.
CBS News medical contributor Dr. Tara Narula says this latest news should be a wake-up call to parents to get their children vaccinated.
“What this is a strong clear message to parents about the importance of vaccination,” she told “CBS This Morning.” “This vaccine is safe. It is the most effective tool we have. And we know of the pediatric deaths last year, 80 percent were in kids who were unvaccinated.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season. Vaccination is especially important for those at high risk of serious , including children younger than 5, adults 65 and older, pregnant women, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, and people with chronic medical conditions.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported on its website that there have been no confirmed lab cases in the state.
A new survey suggests that many children may not be getting the potentially life-saving flu shot because of their parents’about the safety and importance of vaccines.
The survey by Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital found:
- More than half of parents think that their child can get the flu from the flu shot.
- 30 percent of parents feel flu vaccines are a conspiracy.
- 28 percent of parents believe flu vaccines can cause autism.
“None of these things are true. It’s important that we deal with the science and the facts,” Narula said.
The CDC recommends everyone age 6 months and older get vaccinated against the flu every year.
“Officials have said it’s like wearing a seat belt,” Narula said. “This is really a no-brainer for parents.”