A 12-year-old boy from Alabama has been taken off life support after suffering complications from the flu.
Aaron Masterson, of Huntsville, Alabama, passed away Monday after being taken off of life support, WAFF reports. Masterson was born with cystic fibrosis, a rare genetic disorder that damages the lungs and digestive system, which amplified the effects of the influenza virus.
“Aaron is unique in that he’s had a life-long illness that has suppressed his immune system, which complicated the flu when it came into his body,” Rev. John Mullaney of Monte Sano Methodist Church said. “Aaron was Aaron. He wasn’t going to stop being who he was because of any limitations that were put on him by his health.”
Masterson’s death is one of more than 53 children to have died from the flu this season, which has been labeled the worst flu season since the 2009 Swine Flu pandemic.
Among the children lost this flu season is 15-year-old Kira Molina of Georgia, who passed away on Jan. 30. Kevin Baynes, 7, passed away on Jan. 29 just two days after being diagnosed with influenza, and Michael Messenger, a 12-year-old Michigan boy died of the flu on Jan. 11 after testing negative for influenza.
Speaking on Friday, acting CDC director Dr. Anne Schuchat said that this year's flu season is the worst since the 2009 Swine Flu pandemic. Her statement comes on the heels of new research from Canada that revealed that this year’s flu vaccine is 14% less effective than originally thought, meaning that it is just 20% effective against the dominant H3N2 strain.
“That means people who were vaccinated should not consider themselves invincible for this season,” said lead researcher Dr. Danuta Skowronski, an infectious diseases expert at the BC Center for Disease Control.
Still, the CDC is urging people to get the vaccine, stating that even though the flu shot is not 100 percent effective, it can still lessen the chance that someone catches it by 10% to 60%.