3-year-old Muncie girl dies from flu-related complications

(Photos provided)
Muncie child flu death
Child dies from flu complications
Toddler dies days after flu diagnosis

MUNCIE, Ind. (WTHR) - A Muncie family is speaking out for the first time as they mourn the loss of a child.

The little girl died just days after getting diagnosed with the flu.

Her death adds to the fears and concerns felt by many parents during a flu season that hasn't even reached its peak.

The three year old’s death comes just 11 days after that of a girl in Columbus, aged 7. Both had suffered flu-like symptoms.

“Get them to the hospital. Because we did and she was spiking 106, 107 fever,” Tameka Stettler, the girl’s grandmother.

Five days after they took Alivia Viellieux to the hospital, she died at her Muncie home.

“No parent should have to find (passed away) their child of three years,” Stettler said.

Alivia admitted to a hospital last Tuesday. She had a high fever. Two days later she was sent home. Her grandmother said she wishes she had stayed longer.

Through tears, Stettler said the coroner determined that pneumonia had set in. “Pneumonia killed a three-year-old little girl.”

“Just this awesome little kid so full of life, so full of love,” said Stettler. “She loved to sing and dance. She loves her mommy and daddy and they just thought the world of her.”

“There’s a lot of panic, a lot of parents have called in,” said Dr. Eric Yancy, an Indianapolis pediatrician.

“And their children literally just have kind of runny nose and sniffles. But they’re hearing so much that’s going on that they just want to get it checked out. And That’s fine.”

James Chisholm brought his daughter to the office.

“With her asthma the way it is, any cough in her chest we come and check it out. I’d rather be on top of it than be late about it.“

Dr. Yancy suggests concern if it appears the illness has passed but the fever spikes again or is secondary illnesses like pneumonia or dehydration set in.

“I usually tell my parents if you get that secondary illness I need to take a look.“

And there’s clues in a child’s loss of appetite, or if they stop playing.

“If they’re running around and eating everything, chances are, and Ihate to say never, but chances are they don’t have anything that’s really, really bad.”

Yancy says he hopes parents remember this seasons fears next fall and that drives them to get that flu shot for their children over six months old.

There have been 167 flu-related deaths in the state so far this flu season, according to the Indiana State Health Department. This was the second involving someone under the age of 4.

The CDC and FDA have both said they don't believe this season's flu has peaked yet.

Medical officials say there is still time to get the flu shot.

Flu is spread when infected people cough or sneeze nearby or when people touch surfaces or objects contaminated with those infectious respiratory droplets. People can also become infected by touching surfaces or objects contaminated with influenza viruses and then touching their eyes, mouth or nose.

Although anyone can get the flu, some people are at higher risk of flu-related complications, such as pneumonia, hospitalization and death. High-risk individuals include pregnant women, young children (especially those too young to get vaccinated), people with chronic illnesses, people who are immunocompromised and the elderly. It is especially important for these individuals to be vaccinated each year.

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