A teenage girl from the New South Wales Central Coast has died after contracting influenza B as cases continue to rise across the state.
Table of Contents
- A young person has died in NSW after contracting influenza B
- It comes as hospitals record a rise in admissions
- Health authorities are calling for parents to vaccinate their children against the virus
Parents with children at St Joseph's Catholic College in East Gosford have received a letter alerting them of the death of a year 9 student.
The Central Coast Local Health District has confirmed the young person died after contracting influenza B.
The ABC understands the student died on the weekend after contracting the virus several weeks ago.
The letter stated that counselling is being offered to those affected.
"[She] was a well-loved student, thoughtful to the needs of others, a true friend and a valued member of our college community," the letter said.
The ABC has contacted the Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay for comment.
Influenza cases rising
Reported influenza cases across the Central Coast and NSW have been rapidly increasing over the past month, NSW Health figures show.
NSW Health Minister Ryan Park said the easiest way to protect children against viruses such as influenza was to get them vaccinated.
"We have seen a surge in influenza cases in NSW over the past few weeks, especially among children and teenagers," he said.
"Young children are considered to be at higher risk of severe illness from influenza and the best way parents can protect their kids is by getting them vaccinated."
Children younger than five are eligible for a free flu vaccine from when they are six months old.
Parents can get older children vaccinated by a GP or pharmacist.
In most cases they will only pay the cost of the vaccine and service fees.
NSW Health said a recent spike in influenza-related hospital admissions highlighted the need for parents to vaccinate their children.
More than 21,000 children aged 14 and younger have contracted the virus since the start of the year, according to NSW Health records.
That amounts to about half of all recorded cases in the state.