Flu Blamed for Deaths of 11 Children: Note three "11's in story

Thursday, December 04, 2003 8:40 p.m. ET

Lycos News

PUEBLO, Colo. (AP) -- Flu complications were blamed for the death of a sixth child on
Thursday while Colorado health officials suspected flu in the deaths of two other children.

Elsewhere in the country, the flu is being blamed for the deaths of at least three children in
Texas and one each in Oklahoma and New Mexico .

El Paso County Health Department spokeswoman Susan Hilton said the child died
Wednesday, but she could not provide additional information.

Colorado Springs School District 11 Superintendent Norm
Ridder said at a school board meeting late Wednesday that
an 11-year-old girl had died of the flu .

In Pueblo, health officials worked to confirm whether flu caused the death this week of a
toddler younger than 2 years old. State health officials said flu was suspected in the Nov. 24
death of a 2-year-old.

More than 6,300 cases have been reported across the state, more than in the two previous
flu seasons combined. Flu cases have been reported in 51 of Colorado's 64 counties.

The toddler who died in Pueblo tested positive for flu with a rapid hospital test, but officials
were waiting for results from further testing, said Dr. Chris Nevin-Woods, director of the
city-county health department.

The child's age and gender were not available, and Nevin-Woods did not know whether the
child had been hospitalized.

"I believe it's widespread in the city. We're up to about 300 cases," Nevin-Woods said.
"We're still seeing many very young children coming back with positive tests."

Colorado is one of 10 states with a widespread flu outbreak, the highest designation by the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A 2-year-old and a 4-year-old from Thornton died earlier this week; a 15-year-old, an 8-
year-old and a 21-month-old died last month.

Children are particularly susceptible because their bodies have not previously been exposed
to the virus that infects the nose, throat and lungs, according to the federal Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention.