Three children died after contracting the flu this week in Texas, and six children have died since November in what officials are calling an especially bad flu season.
Six influenza-associated pediatric mortalities have been reported in Texas during the 2019-2020 influenza season, according to the Texas Health and Human Services.
In mid-November, the department announced the first flu death of the season after a 5-year-old child from the Rio Grande Valley region died after contracting the illness. Officials said the child had not received the flu vaccine this season.
One week later, another child died after testing positive for the flu in Wichita Falls, Texas.
Two 14-year-olds and a 16-year-old, who were each reported to have underlying conditions, also passed away in recent weeks after falling ill. Two of the children tested positive for influenza B, while one of the 14-year-old children tested positive for flu strain A.
The youngest child to die was under one-years-old.
This week, there have also been two flu-associated outbreaks resulting in school closures in Texas.
Central Texas has also experienced school closures resulting from outbreaks of the flu this season, in both the Bryan/College Station area, at Caldewell ISD, and in our eastern counties at Teague ISD.
In addition to the flu, the most frequently diagnosed non-flu respiratory illness being seen across the state right now is RSV, which can be especially dangerous in infants and small children.
The DSHS is reminding everyone over 6 months old to get their flu vaccines for the current season.
Health experts also recommend frequent hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when sick to prevent contracting the flu and the spread of all respiratory illnesses.