4-year-old girl is NJ’s first flu-related death this season

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A 4-year-old is New Jersey's first flu-related death of this season.  

State Health Department spokeswoman Dawn Thomas confirms the girl, who lived in the central part of the state, died in December and had not been vaccinated. Her name and town were not released.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that this flu season is the worst in years. More than 4,800 flu cases have been confirmed in the state so far, with the most reported in Bergen County.

Health care providers say that it is not too late to still protect oneself from the flu virus.

New Jersey Department of Health deputy commissioner Jackie Cornell received a flu shot in public Wednesday as a way to remind New Jerseyans about how important it can be to receive the shot. She says that while the vaccine isn’t as potent against all the influenza strains this year, it is better than nothing.

“Other people are still going to have some incidents where they get the vaccine and still get sick,” she say. “But I believe it’s a milder case and not as extreme.

New Jersey is not considered to be “high” for flu activity – not a health crisis, but health officials say that there is a cause for concern.

Flu symptoms include an achy, tired feeling, coughing, chills and a fever. Anyone with the symptoms should drink plenty of fluids and consult their doctor. Health officials also warn anyone who is sick to stay home to avoid infecting others.

Plenty of flu shots are still available at local pharmacies and doctors’ offices.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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