Parents Urged To Act On 'Significant' Flu Threat After Toddler’s Tragic Death  7/14/2018 12:59:42 AM 

The death of a two-year-old girl from influenza has prompted an urgent warning for parents to ensure their children receive the free flu shot.

Sienna Rose Pereira, the first child to die from flu in NSW this year, lost her battle with the virus last Sunday, and was laid to rest on Friday.

Sienna died just 24 hours after being admitted to the Westmead Children's Hospital in Sydney, prompting the warning from authorities about flu risk.

Parents are being urged to get the free flu jab for their children during the school holidays before the peak flu season.

In addition to Sienna's tragic death, 18 other kids have been hospitalised with the flu in NSW over the past few months, illustrating the potential danger from this year's strain.

NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said H1N1, which was associated with the 2009 swine flu pandemic, was the most common strain currently circulating.

"Influenza can have a spectrum but it is actually a significant disease causing hospitalisation and in tragic circumstances, also death," she told media.

Medical expert Rick Gordon said it was especially important that toddlers -- one of the highest risk age groups -- were vaccinated.

"This is the crucial age group between six months and even 10 years and it's the toddlers that we need to protect," Dr Gordon told media.

"They have no life skills of coughing into tissues and things like that, they sneeze, they dribble ... all those things. So we need to get these kids vaccinated."

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