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Death of two-year-old Chetwynd child investigated

The BC Coroners Service is investigating the death of a two-year-old Chetwynd child that occurred the evening of Jan. 7, 2017, at BC Children’s Hospital (BCCH) in Vancouver. The child had been admitted to the hospital in Chetwynd in the early hours of Jan. 7, and later transferred to BCCH.

The BC Coroners Service is in the early stages of its investigation and all indications are of death due to a disease. The type of disease has not been disclosed. However, two days after the child’s death, Northern Health issued a statement saying that, “as elsewhere in the province, influenza and other viruses that are common at this time of year are affecting the north east region, including Chetwynd.”

A number of children and families are/have been ill with influenza-like symptoms in the Peace region, including Chetwynd. These illnesses are typical for this time of year, says Northern Health. Viruses are generally spread easily among children, especially during the peak season, but most children who become ill make a full recovery without any medical help. Seniors and people of any age with underlying medical conditions, especially heart and lung conditions are at a higher risk for severe complications of influenza and other respiratory viruses, such as Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).

“We know that viruses spread more easily among young children, especially during peak season for these illnesses; and we understand the concerns around cases affecting children in the community,” said Dr. Raina Fumerton, Medical Health Officer, Northern Health. “However, we would like to offer assurances that complications and death due to influenza and influenza-like illnesses are rare in children who have no underlying medical conditions. It may happen, but it is rare.”

The public will be informed if there is any risk to public health or safety.

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