Flu claims Pike Road 3rd grader, cases still widespread here

Published 8:42 am Friday, January 19, 2018

The flu outbreak that has swept the nation and caused Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey to declare a state of emergency has claimed the life of a Montgomery area child.

Pike Road Schools Superintendent Chuck Ledbetter confirmed to state media Thursday that a third-grader in his school system, Zainab Momin, died as a result of the flu. The child stayed home from school on Tuesday with symptoms. When her fever continued to rise Tuesday night, she was taken to a local hospital where she later died, he said.

While the Alabama Department of Public Health said it does not yet have statistics regarding the number of flu-related deaths, at least one other person has died in Alabama as a result of the flu. The Crimson White, the University of Alabama’s student newspaper, reported Thursday that John McDuffie, an instructor in the UA chemistry department, died at home after contracting the flu.

Locally, pediatrician Dr. Gabrielle Baldwin of Covington Pediatrics is encouraging parents and the school system to take extra precautions.

“The flu is very prominent in the community right now,” she said Wednesday. “In our office alone we are having 15 to 20 positive tests per day since mid last week. I have reached out to all the local school systems to encourage them to please take a few extra minutes to disinfect surfaces at the end of each school day.”

Dr. Baldwin is encouraging those who are sick to self-quarantine.

“I would encourage anyone who is sick with a febrile illness, whether it is flu or not, to stay at home and away from other people in the community until they are fever-free without fever-reducing medications for at least 24 hours,” she said. “Many of these illnesses, including influenza, are droplet spread through the air. I would encourage all people, adults and children alike, to practice good handwashing and minimize touching their faces.”