RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- With various childhood respiratory illnesses on the rise around the country, Riverside County is reporting its first flu-associated death in a child this season.
The child from western Riverside County, who was younger than 10 years old, was brought to a local hospital with respiratory symptoms after being ill for several days and died at the facility.
Officials say the child tested positive for influenza as well as respiratory syncytial virus. A statement from the county described the child's death as "flu-associated."
"Any premature death is a tragedy, but the death of a child is particularly difficult. Our thoughts are with the family, friends and others impacted by the death of this young child," said Riverside County Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari.
Hospitals throughout Southern California are seeing a surge in pediatric respiratory illnesses, including flu, RSV and COVID-19. The caseload is straining hospital resources and triggering renewed calls to get children vaccinated for the flu and COVID-19.
A vaccine for RSV remains in development, but is believed to be at least a year away from release to the public.
Last month, Riverside County reported the season's first death of a child under age 4 from RSV.
Orange County last month declared a health emergency to help hospitals deal with the caseload.