February 18, 2020
The death of a second-grader at Worrall Elementary in Broomall from the flu prompted the Marple Newtown School District to remind students, staff and parents about the potentially serious health consequences of the virus.
Matthew Wzorek died Sunday night from complications related to influenza B. Wzorek appears to be the first pediatric death in Pennsylvania, according to the latest available flu statistics from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
There have been 72,460 flu illnesses reported in Pennsylvania, according to the state health department's weekly report through Feb. 8. This includes 45,531 cases of influenza B and 25,542 cases of influenza; 47 people have died in Pennsylvania, a count that does not include Wzorek's death.
In New Jersey, two children have died so far this flu season. Across the United States, 92 children have died from the flu this year, the CDC reports, and there have been at least 26 million illnesses, 250,000 hospitalizations, and 14,000 deaths from the flu.
Influenza B has an incubation period of four days. Symptoms of the flu include fever, chills, coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue are also indicative of the virus. Some people, but mostly children, experiencing vomiting and diarrhea.
It is likely that Wzorek's second grade class, and all of Worrall Elementary School, has been exposed to the flu virus, Marple Newtown superintendent Tina Kane said in a statement posted to the school district's website.
Wzorek's teacher has been diagnosed with the influenza B virus and is being treated with Tamiflu, a common anti-viral medication administered during the first two days of symptoms, Kane said.
"Quite frankly, since the virus is airborne, the entire district should be on high alert for signs and symptoms of the flu," the superintendent said.
District buildings are being disinfected with an aerosol sanitization spray and classrooms are cleaned daily, Kane said.
An earlier letter from Kane informing district families about Wzorek's death, obtained by 6ABC, described the boy has having a "happy smile and kind heart in class. He loved being with his friends and was always willing to offer assistance to his teachers and peers. To say that he will be missed is an enormous understatement."