Family of 4-year-old boy who died from flu speaks

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The family of the four-year-old boy from Montgomery County is Ohio’s first pediatric flu death of the year is speaking with reporters Thursday.

The Montgomery County Coroner’s office identified the young victim as Jonah S. Rieben of Clayton on Wednesday.

He died at Dayton Children’s Hospital on Saturday, January 6.

“It is a tragedy anytime a loved one is lost and we extend our condolences to the family and friends who are affected,” said Dr. Michael Dohn, Medical Director, Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County.

Last flu season there were 7 pediatric deaths in the State of Ohio.

Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot as soon as possible as vaccination is the best protection against seasonable flu viruses. It’s still not too late to get vaccinated as the flu season extends until the end of spring.

“No parent should ever have to suffer the loss of a child to the flu. Our hearts go out the family,” says Jon Woltmann, MD, infectious disease department at Dayton Children’s Hospital. “We encourage parents to get their children vaccinated to not only protect them, but children who are not able to get the vaccine due to underlying health conditions.”

In the first week of January, there were 1,750 new confirmed flu-associated hospitalizations in Ohio compared to 925 the week before. There have been 3,854 total flu-associated hospitalizations since flu season began last October. In Dayton Children’s emergency department last week, there were 220 positive tests for the flu, which was 30 percent of those tested.

To protect yourself against the flu avoid close contact with sick people, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, cover your coughs and sneezes, wash your hands often (with soap and water), and clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with flu viruses.

Those with the flu should stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.

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