Three Kentucky children died from the flu last week as state braces for worst flu season in decade

Published 10:11 pm Monday, December 19, 2022

Gov. Andy Beshear reported six flu-related pediatric deaths Monday as health officials warn that Kentucky is on pace for its worst influenza season in at least a decade.

Beshear encouraged Kentuckians to get vaccinated against the flu. None of the children who died in the current influenza season received a flu shot, according to the Department for Public Health.

The flu-related pediatric deaths included three in the past week, Beshear’s office said in a news release. The death toll already meets Kentucky’s prior record for the highest number of pediatric influenza deaths in a single flu season, it said. The prior record was established during the 2019-2020 flu season, when six children died of influenza, it said.

“This is a milestone we did not want to cross, and our prayers are with each of these families as they mourn the loss of their loved one,” Beshear said.

Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Department for Public Health, said the current flu season is on track to be Kentucky’s worst in at least 10 years.

“The flu vaccine is the single best way to protect you and your loved ones against the flu and reduces the risk of becoming dangerously ill or spreading disease,” he said.