Flu linked to death of 12-year-old girl in Guelph, Report

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Flu linked to death of 12-year-old girl in Guelph, suspected in one other
Flu linked to death of 12-year-old girl in Guelph, suspected in one other

Westminster Woods student died less than two days after showing flu symptoms.

The recent death of a 12-year-old Guelph elementary school student is being blamed on influenza and health officials suspect a second death could also be connected to the illness.

Stan Pollard said his daughter Layna Pollard died on Jan. 31, after contracting the influenza virus. She was a student at Westminster Woods Public School in the south end of Guelph.

“She was a daddy’s girl and every minute that goes by, my heart breaks more and more,” Pollard said in a message to CJOY News.

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Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health confirmed on Friday that two children in the Guelph area have died from the flu.

“Our sympathies are with the families at this time,” said Dr. Nicola Mercer, medical officer of health, in a statement. “Influenza is a serious respiratory infection and the flu season is not over.”

“In the last week, we have seen the highest number of new cases as well as the highest school absenteeism this season.”

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Pollard said his daughter was the first pediatric flu-related death in Guelph this season.

Public Health did not release the age or gender of the other child, but the Upper Grand District School Board confirmed the child was a student within the board.

“Public Health has informed us these cases are being treated as unrelated,” said Heather Loney, spokesperson for the school board.

This comes just a few days after a 10-year-old boy from Waterdown Ont., died after getting the flu.

Officials said Bobby Smylie was rushed to the hospital on Feb. 4, and died of bacterial pneumonia. He was laid to rest in Waterdown Friday morning.

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Clinic hours are being extended this weekend to encourage more people to get the flu shot, Public Health said.

“Protect yourself and your family with the flu shot right now,” Mercer said.

The death have left many parents worried about the unpredictability of the flu with many asking about what signs to look for and when to act.

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