Tarrant County reports 2nd pediatric flu death of the season

The flu continues to be widespread in North Texas with no signs of letting up.

This week, the Tarrant County Health Department reported a second pediatric flu death.

Health officials said we're seeing higher than normal flu activity at this time.

Typically, the peak of the flu season is near the end of January, beginning of February.

But in 2019, the number of flu cases in December is higher than it's been in the last three years.

Widespread flu cases in Tarrant County means additional risk for families in the Metroplex during the holidays.

“Everyone went home to see family, or they went to see grandma and now you have a lot of mixing. And as a result, you have mixing of people who maybe weren't exposed before with those who were sick,” said Chief Epidemiologist Russell Jones, with Tarrant County Public.

Tarrant County has already reported its second pediatric flu death of the season.

“As of last Friday, there had been seven in Texas. Two of them had been here in Tarrant County,” Jones said.

Jones said the flu strain that's gone widespread this season is a Flu B strain.

It typically doesn't show up until late in the season.

This year, it hit Texas early.

“We’re not the only ones,” Jones explained. “The southeast United States, the rest of the United States is also seeing Flu B earlier.”

And there's still a second strain, Flu A.

Tarrant County officials said doctors are starting to see that strain show up, and it is possible to get both in the same year.

“So even though we’ve had a large amount of flu, and it’s been a large amount so far this year, we could be seeing more here in the next few weeks. Flu is hard to predict but it looks like A is coming along,” Jones added.

And while some groups, like young children, elderly, and pregnant women, may be more severely impacted by flu, Jones said everyone should take simple steps to keep the virus from spreading.

“If you do get sick, please don’t go to work, please don’t go to school,” Jones said. "If you haven’t gotten your vaccination for flu, today is the best day to do it. No time like the present.”