Health officials in Maryland are pushing people to go out and get flu shots after the highly publicized deaths of two local teenagers, reports The Washington Post. Both Zachary Weiland, 15, and Ian Willis, 13, experienced similar, flu-like symptoms before being taken to the hospital, where they eventually passed away. The Center for Disease Control notes that, while it's not necessarily a worse flu season, infections have been on the rise even though it's been more than six weeks since the season started.
Also, despite the fact that the CDC reported deaths of 78 people under the age of 18 from the flu last year, Howard County Health Officer Peter Beilenson sees this season's occurrences as out of the ordinary.
"This is very unusual," Beilenson said. "This was a healthy, athletic kid."
A school near Baltimore, Immaculate Conception Elementary, apparently canceled classes this past week due to several students reporting flu symptoms. Despite all of this, a new survey from market research firm Synovate found that less than half of U.S. citizens got the flu vaccine during the last few months, a number falling far short of federal targets.
For more information:
- read the article in The Washington Post