Health officials are investigating to determine if the deathSaturday evening of a three-year-old child from the ColchesterCounty area is associated with influenza. “The death of a child is always difficult, and I offer mysympathy to the family,” said Dr. Jeff Scott, chief medicalofficer of health for Nova Scotia. “We also understand that thiswill cause concern for other parents. However, initialinvestigation indicates no increased health risk to the communityor the general public.” A sibling is currently recovering in the IWK Health Centre fromwhat is described as a respiratory illness. Due to the presence of influenza in the community and a historyof flu symptoms among family members, the provincial chiefmedical officer of health and the medical examiner arecollaborating to investigate. Laboratory test results areexpected over the next few weeks. “It is rare for an otherwise healthy child to get severely illwith influenza,” said Dr. Scott. “Healthy children normallyrecover completely from the illness.” Many children get the flu every year, with up to 25 per cent ofchildren affected in a severe season. However, deaths due toinfluenza are still rare in children. While the IWK has seencontinuous flu activity in this earlier than usual influenzaseason, the number of admissions to the intensive care unit issimilar to the number in past years. The Health Department continues to fund and recommend vaccinationof adults and children in high-risk groups, including people overage 65, and adults and children with chronic illnesses such asasthma, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. This is based onnational recommendations by the National Advisory Committee onImmunization (NACI). High-risk children under the age of nine whohave not previously been vaccinated will require two shots, onemonth apart.