Flu blamed in deaths of two Ont. elementary school children

Flu blamed in deaths of two Ont. elementary school children

Flu blamed in deaths of two Ont. elementary school children

"Protect yourself and your family with the flu shot right now", Mercer said.

Layna Pollard, a Grade 7 student, started showing flu-like symptoms on January 29, according to her parents.

"When the doctor finished and said they couldn't do nothing else, we kissed her on the forehead and a tear came out of her eye".

"I was told from the coroner's report it did not matter if Layna got the flu shot, this flu shot has no effect on the influenza B virus, this flu goes through the blood stream and effects the heart and lungs".

Public Health Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph confirms one influenza-related death, and one suspected influenza-related death of elementary school children in their territory.

Stan Pollard remembers his daughter as a "sensitive, loving child" who loved making movies and had won an award for filmmaking.

Stan Pollard said his daughter Layna Pollard died on January 31, after contracting the influenza virus.

"Our sympathies are with the families at this time", said Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health and CEO for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health. "A recent Canadian study estimates that the vaccine is 55% effective in protecting against the Influenza B virus circulating in Southwestern Ontario".

The school board has sent additional cleaning staff to help sanitize classrooms at schools, and made increased counselling and support services available at Westminster Woods.

Public Health did not release the age or gender of the other child, but the Upper Grand District School Board confirmed the child was a student within the board.

Christopher Beveridge, the health protection director for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, says this year has been a "particularly hard" flu season for the area, with activity hitting a new high this week.

Clinic hours are being extended this weekend to encourage more people to get the flu shot, Public Health said.

After Pollard's death, the school sent messages to parents recommending that students get vaccinated against influenza if they have not yet received the flu shot.

According to the latest FluWatch report of the Public Health Agency of Canada released Friday, five children under 16 have died of the flu in Canada as of February 3.

In all, there have been 130 deaths and 3,108 hospital admissions in Canada due to flu this season.