LA DHH confirms child death from flu in Shreveport-Bossier area - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

LA DHH confirms child death from flu in Shreveport-Bossier area

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Precautions have been taken to prevent the spread of the illness that may have caused the death of 8-year-old Central Park Elementary School student Kaitlyn Mills. Precautions have been taken to prevent the spread of the illness that may have caused the death of 8-year-old Central Park Elementary School student Kaitlyn Mills.
BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) -

The Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals has confirmed there has been a pediatric death from H1N1, also known as the "swine flu" in the Shreveport-Bossier area.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to this child's family and friends," said DHH Secretary Kathy Kliebert. "It is important we all remain vigilant for symptoms of flu-like illness, and be serious about taking preventative measures against the spread of flu."

While the identity of the child who died has not been released, Bossier school officials say letters have been sent home with students who may have been in contact with an 8-year-old Central Park Elementary student who died Wednesday, reportedly of complications from the flu.

Bossier Parish School District spokesperson Sonja Bailes says Kaitlyn Mills didn't feel well at school on Tuesday. She saw the nurse, but did not have a fever. She was taken to the emergency room the next day after her condition deteriorated and died later that night.

While the cause of the third-grader's death has not been officially confirmed, Bailes says the school has also taken steps to sanitize all the places Kaitlyn may have been. Hand washing has always been encouraged, but it is being especially emphasized now. Bailes say counselors have been made available at the school for students who may need to talk about it.

Visitation for Kaitlyn has been set for Tuesday, January 14 from 6:00 pm. to 7:00 p.m. Winnfield Funeral Home in the 37000 block of Hollywood Avenue in Shreveport.  The funeral will take place on Wednesday, January 15 at 11:30 a.m. at New Zion Baptist Church in Bossier City.

Flu season is at its peak, and the number of patient visits for flu-like symptoms spiked last week in Louisiana. According to the Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals, north Louisiana is seeing the most flu-like illness right now.

According to DHH spokesperson Ken Pastorick, there have been 20 deaths statewide since October of patients who had confirmed influenza. But CDC evaluations estimate that there may have been up to 200 cases that were not confirmed with lab tests, or were the result of complications of the flu.

Click here for the full statement from the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals

In Bossier schools, Bailes says higher than average absenteeism was noted before the Christmas break, but have since returned to normal levels. 

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