A Texas girl has become the first U.S. child to die from the flu this season, authorities say

HIDALGO COUNTY, TX (ValleyCentral) — Hidalgo County officials confirmed to ValleyCentral that the death of a 3-year-old girl earlier this month was flu-related.

Hidalgo County is in southern Texas on the US-Mexico border.

The death of a child in the Rio Grande Valley is now the first confirmed pediatric flu death in the United States for the 2022 flu season, according to CDC data updated Friday morning.

County health officials previously said the child died of “respiratory symptoms” after testing positive for the flu. State officials have now confirmed the child’s death was flu-related, Hidalgo County Public Affairs Director Carlos Sanchez told ValleyCentral.

On Friday morning, the CDC announced that the first “influenza-related” death of the season had been reported this week.

Although the case is suspected to be flu-related, cases involving children must be reviewed by state health officials, a process that could take weeks, officials told ValleyCentral on Oct. 19. The girl died earlier this week.

“She tested positive for the flu, but the way it works is that every death of a child under the age of 12 has to be investigated by the state,” Sanchez said. “And the state will determine whether the flu was a contributing factor in the death or the cause of death.”

According to the CDC, 39 pediatric deaths were reported during the 2021-2022 season, but this number may be an underestimate.

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