New Jersey

Kids in NJ, Conn. Believed to Be Latest Child Flu Deaths in Tri-State

What to Know

  • A New Jersey child may be the third kid to die from the flu in the state this flu season
  • In Connecticut, officials said they're investigating the death of a 6-year-old girl as possibly flu-related
  • This year’s flu season is now as bad as the swine flu epidemic back in 2009, officials have said

Children in New Jersey and Connecticut may be the latest victims of this year’s historic flu season, officials said.

Elizabeth school officials announced the New Jersey child’s death Sunday as officials in Connecticut said they were investigating the death of a 6-year-old girl who may have also died from the flu this past week. 

The New Jersey child was identified by her family as Daniela Genaro. She attended Nicholas LaCorte-Peterstown School No. 3, Elizabeth Schools Superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer said in a letter to parents Monday. The New Jersey Department of Health is continuing to investigate what killed Genaro.

Hugelmeyer said grief counselors would be available when students returned to class Tuesday, and that all Elizabeth schools are open and clean.

"You should feel comfortable in sending your child to school tomorrow," she wrote in the letter to parents. "We continue to do everything possible to make the schools safe, healthy learning environments." 

The superintendent says all schools have been sanitized with disinfectant each day since the fall, and that the Nicholas LaCorte-Peterstown School and school buses are being additionally sanitized. 

Genaro was described by her uncle as very intelligent and happy.

"Everyone's received the news like a bucket of ice water," he said. "We still don't know everything, her parents are still in the hospital trying to figure out what happened."

Two children have already died from the flu in New Jersey this season, bringing the death toll there to three.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Norwalk, Connecticut, confirmed Sunday that the death of a 6-year-old girl named Emma Splan is being looked at as possibly flu-related.

Splan was a student at Columbus Magnet School, Mayor Harry Rilling said. She would be the second child to die from the flu in Connecticut this flu season.

Fourteen new flu deaths were reported by Connecticut health officials Sunday, increasing the overall death toll in the state this flu season to more than 65 people – the most ever. Two of those deaths were of young people under the age of 24, while 62 of them were adults over the age of 65.

Health officials said ER visits for the flu have increased more than 14 percent in the past week, the highest weekly level observed in the state since the 2009 swine flu epidemic.

The CDC said earlier this week that more than 80 children across the U.S. have died from the flu this flu season. 

Four children have died in New York City from the flu this season, most recently a 5-year-old girl whose death was announced a little more than a week ago.

The Departments of Health and Education continue to recommend that people take the necessary precautions during this flu season: wash or disinfect your hands frequently, cover any coughs and sneezes, stay home and call your health care provider if you are sick (especially with a fever) and get a flu shot. 

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