Flu kills fourth child in NYC, prompts urgent call for parents to vaccinate kids

New_York_Daily_News_logo.pngBy John Annese and Laura Dimon

A 5-year-old girl who fell ill in her Brooklyn home and died was the city’s fourth fatal child flu victim, authorities said Monday.

Elisa Murray was rushed to Brookdale University Hospital, where she died Saturday, according to authorities.

Paramedics rushed to Elisa’s Canarsie apartment building after receiving a call that the girl was having trouble breathing.

Medicine had helped the day before, but the girl’s temperature came back and she stopped breathing Saturday evening, according to neighbor Nelson Martis.

Elisa’s frantic mother ran into the hallway about 10 p.m. with the unresponsive girl in her arms. She was frantic for help, Martis said.

“The mother had the child in her hands, crying,” he said. “The child wasn’t breathing. Then she went down to the floor.”

Firefighters and EMTs tried, but they could not revive Elisa.

“When you really see it, like I did live and right in front of me, you have to be concerned.”

Three other children, including an 8-year-old girl from Queens, have also succumbed to the virus.

City Health Department spokesman Julien Martinez said children who die from the flu generally have not gotten a vaccine.

So far this winter, more than 8,000 children under the age of 5 have been diagnosed with the flu in New York, officials said.

“The influenza season is far from over, and it is not too late to get the flu shot,” Martinez said.

“We urge parents to protect themselves and their families by getting this potentially lifesaving vaccine today.”

A 5-year-old North Bergen, N.J., girl also died after suffering a flu-like illness, her town’s school superintendent said Monday.

Nationally, 106 children died during last year’s flu season, including six in New York City.

Families Fighting Flu, a national organization founded in 2004, was launched by parents who’ve lost a child to the illness.

Richard Kanowitz, of Scarsdale, helped form the group after his 4-year-old daughter, Amanda, died from the viral infection.

“To people who are questioning whether they should vaccinate the child, I say look at my situation,” he said in a November PBS segment. “Do you want to play Russian roulette with your child’s life?”

City Councilman Mark Levine, who chairs the Health Committee, said it’s not too late to get the crucial vaccine.

“This is a crisis that we all need to confront together,” he said.

“This is a painful reminder that every New Yorker — especially parents — must be vigilant during the flu season,” he added.

More than 60 children have died of the flu across the country so far this season, compared with 20 at this time last year.

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