An 11-year-old girl has died from flu amid an alarming rise in cases of the virus. Emma Schwab, from Queensland, Australia, was admitted to hospital last week and died on July 6.
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A fundraising page has been set up to help Emma’s parents pay for the funeral by organiser Mel Horton, who wrote on GoFundMe: “Understandably the family is torn apart and any support would be greatly appreciated.”
Emma, from the town of Noosa on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, is the second youngster to die from influenza B in the last week.
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He said: “We’ve never experienced anything like this before so exactly how this will pan out over the next few weeks or months is not clear. It is uncharted territory.”
A teenage girl from New South Wales’s Central Coast died after contracting the virus amid a rise in cases across the state, according to media outlet ABC.
A letter from the girl’s school to parents said: “[She] was a well-loved student, thoughtful to the needs of others, a true friend and a valued member of our college community.”
Doctors in Australia called last week for parents to get their children inoculated against flu after a spike in the number of young people presenting at hospital with flu-like symptoms.
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It came after a 37 percent increase in emergency department presentations with influenza-like illness in New South Wales, according to the state’s health department.
Dr Gerrard is quoted as saying the flu outbreak is not being caused by a more dangerous virus but the result of years of social isolation.
He said: “There are many young children who have never been exposed to influenza and so it’s hitting them for the very first time.”
New South Wales Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant, quoted by The Sun, said: “Sadly, our children’s hospitals are seeing an increasing number of children being admitted for care and some of these patients are seriously unwell.
“In recent weeks, we have seen influenza cases rising fastest among very young children as well as those aged five to 16 years, with these two age groups often accounting for around half of all flu cases diagnosed in NSW each week.
“My key message to you is please get your children vaccinated ahead of the return to school.”
Influenza is an acute respiratory infection caused by viruses, according to the World Health Organization. There are four types: A and B, which cause seasonal epidemics, and C and D.
Influenza B has reportedly now overtaken influenza A as Australia’s dominant strain. The main symptoms include a sore throat, fever, headache, cough, muscle and joint pain, runny nose and a general feeling of being unwell.
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