North Bergen student, 5, dies from ‘flu-like’ symptoms

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NORTH BERGEN — A North Bergen student passed away Monday from “flu-like” symptoms, according to a statement from Superintendent of Schools Dr. George Solter.
“Today is a sad day in the North Bergen School District as we have lost one of our own,” Solter said. “I would like to express on behalf of the entire North Bergen School District our deepest sympathies for the family of our student. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with you during this difficult time.”
He added, “We are also urging parents to not send their kids in to school if they are suffering from flu-like symptoms and to get them medical assistance if they are. Additionally, the district has partnered up with the North Bergen Health Department and is offering free flu vaccines to students, with parental consent.”
Though the press release mentions “flu-like symptoms,” according to town spokesman Juan Escobar, the town couldn’t immediately confirm the student died from the flu. The NJ Department of Health is investigating the death, he said.
It comes as the nation deals with one of the worst flu outbreaks in years.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, flu-related viruses this flu season caused 1 in 10 deaths nationwide so far this month. A respiratory virus surveillance report from the NJ DOH for the week ending Feb. 3 gave the state a “high” influenza activity level.
North Bergen is working to sanitize the district, according to Solter.
“During the last three weeks each desk in our schools has been disinfected with bleach, in addition our custodians have been spraying disinfectant on door knobs, handles, toilets, sinks and other surfaces to help prevent the virus from spreading,” Solter said.
The student’s age and school could not be immediately confirmed, although on-line reports said the student is 5.