NJ health officials investigate whether death of 5-year-old in North Bergen was flu-related

NORTH BERGEN, New Jersey (WABC) -- A 5-year-old girl in New Jersey has died after getting sick, and the health department is trying to confirm whether the death was caused by the flu.

The girl was a kindergarten student at the Lincoln School in North Bergen.

The state health department says there are no new pediatric flu deaths in the state.

North Bergen School Superintendent Dr. George Solter released a statement that read in part:

"Today is a sad day in the North Bergen School District as we have lost one of our own. 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 said letters were sent to families informing them of the death, and said that the school district is taking every precaution to make the schools a safe and healthy learning environment for students.

"During the last three weeks each desk in our schools have 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," said Solter. "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."

Families still went to their after school events Monday night but with a heavy heart.

"My condolences. My heart goes out to them. It's sad. I have kids, grand kids. Can't imagine," said North Bergen resident Bianca Del Valle.

Earlier Monday, the New York City Health Department confirmed the city's fourth pediatric flu death this season, a 5-year-old girl from Brooklyn.

Six children in the New York area have died from the flu this season.

The CDC is now reporting this to be the worst influenza season in 15 years. It started early and is still surging.

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