MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ala. – The Pike Road Schools superintendent confirmed that a third-grader passed away this week due to complications of the flu.
Superintendent Chuck Ledbetter spoke with family members of Zainab Momin who say she passed away Tuesday night at the hospital.
Momin had been absent from school because she was sick, then the school was closed due to weather. Friday will be the first day students and faculty will return. Ledbetter says that grief counselors will be there for those who need to talk to them.
“It’s very difficult any time that a child passes away. She was a wonderful child,” said Ledbetter. “We will be making sure that grief counselors are available for our students and faculty. They have all been out of school for the weather, and she had missed school in the days prior to that due to illness. This is really the first time the students will be back.”
The Alabama Department of Public Health confirmed a pediatric death related to flu in a statement, but said the investigation is in its early stages and details on individual cases will not be provided.
Governor Kay Ivey declared a State Public Health Emergency due to the high risk of widespread exposure to the flu that could cause substantial harm to a large number of people. Several schools have been forced to close due to the flu, and hospitals are struggling to meet the high volume of patients.
ADPH is currently conducting free influenza vaccination clinics around the state.
“I have never seen a flu season this serious, ” stated Dr. Wes Stubblefield, President of the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “Pediatricians are alarmed about the severity of recent cases and I urge families to be vaccinated against influenza as well as follow the advice of their physicians regarding any treatment measures, including antivirals.”