Flu linked to death of 12-year-old girl in Guelph; second case being investigated

Health officials say at least one, and possibly two children have died from the flu in the Guelph region.

Public Health Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph confirms one influenza-related death, and one suspected influenza-related death of elementary school children in their territory.

Stan Pollard tells 570NEWS his 12-year-old daughter Layna Vu Pollard developed flu like symptoms on Monday, January 29th. Two days later, she was found by her parents passed out on the bathroom floor and was pronounced dead in hospital.

A coroner’s report later confirmed the girl’s death was the result of influenza B.

Pollard says his daughter loved to write books, make movies, and help others. She also loved to dance, listen to Michael Jackson, and the Korean band BTS.

In a statement to 570NEWS, Pollard confirms Layna had not received a flu shot, but suggests the flu shot wouldn’t have made a difference in saving his daughter’s life.

“I was told from the coroner’s report it did not matter if Layna got the flu shot, this flu shot has no effect on the influenza B virus,this flu goes through the blood stream and effects the heart and lungs.”

Officials at Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health are now investigating the death of a second child in the area, to determine if influenza B may have been involved.

A statement from Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health, says the region has seen a sharp increase in the number of influenza cases in the last week, noting the high number of school absenteeism.

Janice Walters, Manager of Control of Infectious Diseases for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health says the second case currently under investigation is unrelated to the Pollard, adding the children had no contact with each other during the virus’ incubation time.

She says this season has seen of their highest ever reported number of school absenteeism due to flu.

Walters says new data published only last month shows this year’s flu vaccine is in fact 55 per cent effective in Canada, not 10 per cent as first feared.

She says that number was based on flu shot stats from the southern hemisphere.

Public Health Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph is extending flu-shot clinic hours this weekend:

Guelph – 160 Chancellors Way

Friday: 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Fergus – 474 Wellington County Road 18

Friday: 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Orangeville – 180 Broadway

Friday: 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

And members of the community can get more information about the flu and the flu shot by calling 1-800-265-7293.

Phone lines will be open Friday till 7 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m until 2 p.m.

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