A 16-year-old Marshfield High School student died Monday from Influenza B complications, the Coos Bay School District said.
The student, a boy who played football and baseball, first showed flu symptoms Friday, high school Principal Travis Howard said. The boy’s condition kept deteriorating and by Sunday the family cut short a mini-vacation to the Ashland area and took him to the Bay Area Hospital ER in Coos Bay, Howard said. He died the following morning.
“I think they’re still in shock,” Howard said. The boy’s mother teaches for the school district and his father coaches baseball.
The student and Howard had connected over their mutual love of the San Francisco Giants, the principal said. Last week, the two were talking about spring training.
“He was just a great kid,” Howard said. “Just a great, all-American kid.”
The school has mobilized a crisis team to help staff and students cope with the student’s death, Howard said, and there is now a “safe room” where people can talk.
As of Feb. 8, one other child has died in Oregon from the flu or complications associated with the flu this season, according to the Oregon Health Authority. That child died in December. The agency released no other information.
The Coos Bay student’s death comes amid what appears to be a waning flu season in Oregon. The latest infection statistics show a continuing decline in the portion of ER visits for influenza-like symptoms – the measure the state uses to track flu prevalence. The season started relatively early, with the first sharp increase in cases happening in early November.
Cases have declined substantially since the end of 2019. But the season isn’t over, Oregon Health Authority spokesman Jonathan Modie said, and the state could still see a late-season bump in hospitalizations for flu-like symptoms.
Children are more prone to catching Influenza B than adults, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s the dominant virus this season for the first time in 27 years, according to the agency. Of the 92 children in the United States who have died from the flu or its complications as of Feb. 8, 62 had Influenza B and 30 had Influenza A, the virus that usually dominates flu seasons.
It isn’t too late to get a flu shot, state health officials said.
— Fedor Zarkhin
desk: 503-294-7674|cell: 971-373-2905|@fedorzarkhin
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