School officials confirm Illinois 4th grader dies to flu complication

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On Tuesday, an Illinois elementary student died due to complications from the flu, according to school officials who confirmed this.

According to abc13, the student Johnny Towler was a fourth grader at Grove Elementary. The boy had an older brother who is an eighth-grader at the middle school, according to a letter from Barrington Middle School’s Prairie Campus, Travis Lobbins.

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The letter went on to say that Johnny died “unexpectedly over the winter break from a viral infection that attacked his heart, which is a rare complication from the flu,” Lobbins’ continued in the letter to parents, according to the news outlet.

According to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, Johnny passed away at Lutheran General Hospital on Dec. 31, 2017, of myocarditis which is a rare complication of the flu. The news outlet reported that Prarie will be providing counselors for both students and staff.

The news outlet reported that the district said in a statement:

“We are deeply saddened by the unexpected passing of one of our students, who was very much loved by the Barrington 220 community. We have extra counselors on hand this week for any students or staff who need support and our thoughts are with the student’s family during this difficult time.”

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, one influenza-related pediatric death has been reported in Illinois this season, though they did not expand upon additional details citing privacy rules. The news outlet reported that solely influenza-related pediatric deaths are reported to the department.

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According to the news outlet, flu season seems to be peaking early this year in Illinois with state records showing that there are 100+ outbreaks across this state this season compared to this time, last season. State officials recommended last month that hospitals limit visitors and take precautions to prevent as well as control the spread of the flu due to the high volumes of cases.

And just last week, according to the news outlet, hospital officials called the outbreak “near pandemic proportions.” as Chicago area hospitals had overcrowded emergency rooms along with scarce beds. The news outlet also reported that the increase of the outbreak was so bad, last weekend the Chicago Fire Department added five additional ambulances. They have since gone down to their normal number, 75.

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