Skip to main content

B.C. reports another influenza-related child death, bringing total to 4 this respiratory season


Another child under the age of 10 has died while suffering from influenza, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control confirmed in its weekly update on respiratory illness Thursday.

The latest death was reported during the week of Jan. 14 to 20, according to the centre, which provided no additional information about the deceased.

The BCCDC says there have now been four influenza-related pediatric deaths during the 2023-24 respiratory illness season.

An "influenza-related death" is one "where influenza was a contributing factor but not necessarily the primary cause of death," the BCCDC says on its website.

In a statement to CTV News, the BCCDC confirmed that the latest death was "newly reported."

"In all cases, the children have been under the age of 10, and due to the small numbers, we are not confirming the health authority at this time," the agency said in a statement.

"However, we can share that the reports came from different parts of the province. We send our condolences to the families and communities affected by the loss of their loved ones."

Often, children who die while battling viral respiratory illnesses do so because of separate bacterial infections that prey on their weakened immune systems.

The BCCDC warned in its statement that secondary bacterial infections "can cause a child to get very sick very quickly."

Rapid worsening of symptoms, prolonged fever and difficulty breathing are among the signs that a child needs immediate medical attention, the agency said.

The four flu-related deaths announced this season include two of the four children who have died from invasive group A streptococcal bacteria infections in recent months, meaning at least six children under 10 have now died from either the flu, strep, or both. 

The BCCDC warned last week that the province "continues to experience higher levels" of group A strep infections than normal.

Respiratory illness data

The latest child death comes as influenza and RSV infections continue to decline in the province, overall.

Since peaking at 19.1 per cent in the last week of December, the test positivity rate for influenza in B.C. has declined to 10.1 per cent as of the most recent epidemiological week, which ended Jan. 20.

RSV positivity has also declined, falling to 6.7 per cent in the most recent update, down from a peak of 9.9 per cent in the first week of the year.

COVID-19 cases and test positivity also declined in the latest update from the BCCDC.

There were 413 new lab-confirmed COVID infections in B.C. during the week of Jan. 14 to 20, down from 548 the week before.

Test positivity dropped from 12.2 per cent to 10.8 per cent.

The number of patients currently in hospital with COVID-19 is essentially unchanged in the latest update. The BCCDC reported 168 such patients on Thursday, while there were 172 at this time last week.

The number of people in B.C. hospitals with COVID-19, as reported by the BCCDC since January 2023, is shown. (CTV) Top Stories

Stay Connected