RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. (KABC) -- A 4-year-old Perris boy is Riverside County's first pediatric flu-related death of the season, according to public health officials.
The child, who tested positive for the flu, had "underlying health issues" and died at a medical facility outside of the county, the Riverside University Health System Public Health says. Additional information on the child's health issues and circumstances surrounding the death were not released.
There were nine flu-associated deaths during the 2018-2019 season, and 23 during 2017-2018, according to RUHS.
Health officials are urging people to receive a flu shot as soon as possible. Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County Public health officer, said it's not too early to get a flu shot. He added that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone 6 months of age and older receive a flu vaccination each year, and many providers have this year's shot already in stock.
"We should never forget that the flu still kills," Kaiser said. "I always recommend people get their flu shots every year, but a death so early in the flu season suggests this year may be worse than usual. Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones who are grieving."
For more information on where flu shots are being offered in Riverside County, click here.