BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The flu epidemic is spreading quickly throughout the west and has struck Bakersfield with its first flu related death of a nine-year-old student.
A nine-year-old Columbia Elementary student was pronounced dead Thursday from the deadly virus.
This is the first reported death associated with the flu in Kern County this year.
Parents were sent a letter regarding the death of the girl. The letter can be read here.
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The girl was a student of the Fruitvale School District. She first showed signs of the disease on Saturday.
According to health officials, the fourth grader had not received a flu shot.
Health officials offered parents tips on how to tell if what their child has is something minor or needs more immediate medical attention.
"If you have a fever that you cannot control and you cannot cause it to come down using Tylenol or ibuprofen that's a concern. If you have a child that is not able to take in adequate liquids with high fever where they are at risk for dehydration, that's a problem. If they are having trouble breathing then you need to go and get additional health care," said Dr. Claudia Jonah, public health officer for the Kern County Health Department.
Health officials said a local flu vaccine clinic will be held at the health department Saturday.
The clinic will be giving flu shots from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., at 1800 Mt Vernon Avenue. The shots will be $9 each.