FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20, 2022
Contact:
Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683
Elizabeth Goodsitt, 608-266-1683

DHS Confirms Pediatric Influenza-Associated Death in Wisconsin

Encourages everyone six months and older to get the influenza (flu) vaccine

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has confirmed the first pediatric influenza-associated death in Wisconsin for the 2022-2023 season. Nationwide, 30 pediatric influenza-associated deaths have been reported. 

DHS encourages all Wisconsinites, especially children, to get vaccinated against the flu as soon as possible. Early data show this year’s flu vaccine is a match to current circulating influenza strains and will prevent or reduce symptoms of influenza infection. 

“DHS is saddened to report the first death of a child from influenza in Wisconsin this season,” said DHS Chief Medical Officer and State Epidemiologist Dr. Ryan Westergaard. “Flu cases are on the rise throughout the state, and it is important to take steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Flu vaccines are safe and effective, and we urge all eligible Wisconsinites to get their shot as soon as possible. It is the most powerful tool we have to prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death during flu season.” 

DHS urges everyone six months and older to get the flu vaccine. It is especially important for people who are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill, such as those who are pregnant, age 65 and older, and those with chronic health conditions. Getting vaccinated will help keep you from spreading the virus to others. Wisconsinites can find a location offering the flu vaccine by visiting vaccines.gov or calling 211 or 877-947-2211. 

Taking the following daily actions can also help stop the spread of germs and increase your protection:  

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. 
  • Avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth. 
  • Stay home and away from others if you feel sick. 
  • Avoid being around others who are sick or have flu symptoms. 
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze and encourage children to do the same. 
  • Wear a high-quality mask around others to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses. 

These steps will help prevent the flu and other respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19 and RSV. Respiratory viruses spread easily so it is important to take these actions and get vaccinated to protect yourself and those around you.  

Up-to-date information about the current flu season can be found in the DHS Weekly Respiratory Report