A six-year-old girl has died from the flu, health department officials confirmed.
Nevaeh Hernandez, of North Bergen, New Jersey, died Monday and is the second flu-related child death in the state, it was revealed Tuesday.
Her father, who is in armed services and stationed in Germany, flew home after learning of her death, PIX11 reported.
North Bergen school officials, who said they have disinfected the schools in that area, will provide free flu vaccines to students to stop the spread of the virus.
This season’s flu strain has killed at least 63 children since October, and accounts for about nine percent of deaths nationwide – well above epidemic proportions, and experts say it’s getting worse.
Her family has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to cover medical, funeral and memorial costs.
North Bergen School Superintendent Dr George Solter said he is taking every precaution to make schools a safe environment, and added that the school district is working with the local health department to provide free flu vaccines to students.
‘During the last three weeks each desk in our schools have been disinfected with bleach, in addition our custodians have been spraying disinfectant on door knobs, handles, toilets, sinks and other surfaces to help prevent the virus from spreading,’ Dr Solter said.
‘We are also urging parents to not send their kids in to school if they are suffering from flu like symptoms and to get them medical assistance if they are,’ he added.
This flu season is on track to becoming one of the worst in recent history, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The virus is widespread in 48 states, including New Jersey, after Oregon dropped down to regional level to join Hawaii.
Experts predict the pediatric death toll could climb to 150 by the end of March.
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe illness. Complications of the virus can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.
The dominant H3N2 strain, dubbed the ‘Aussie flu’, has been wreaking havoc this year and the flu vaccine is only 34 percent effective against this particular strain.
However, CDC officials are urging everyone to get their flu shot and say it is not too late as the vaccine is even more effective against the H1N1 and B viruses, which killed Aaron.
This year’s flu is set to becoming one of the worst in recent history and already has the highest rate of hospitalizations than any other year.
On Friday, Dr Dan Jernigan, director of the CDC’s Influenza Division, said this is an unusual pattern for the flu as health officials expected activity to have already reached its peak at this time – but it continues to get worse.
Experts and health officials are warning everyone to take extra precaution to prevent the spread of the flu by washing your hands regularly and avoiding contact with everyone.
Since people can harbor the flu virus whether they look ill or not, doctors are urging everyone to be vigilant.
‘Supporting one’s immune system with good rest and adequate hydration may help reduce the severity of symptoms,’ Dr Brian Secemsky, an internist at One Medical in San Francisco, told Daily Mail Online in a previous interview.
‘Washing hands often, wearing masks, and staying home from work during periods of fever can help reduce the transmission of the virus,’ he added.