St. Louis Park Teen is 5th Fatal Flu Case in MN this Season

Updated: 01/09/2013 10:50 AM KSTP.com By: Scott Theisen

A St. Louis Park teen has died after battling the flu.

Fourteen-year-old Carly Christenson came home from basketball with a sore throat on Dec. 20. She ended up at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis on Christmas Eve.

A St. Louis Park school official says Carly did receive a vaccination. Despite that, she was still diagnosed with 'Influenza A'.

"I didn't believe it for a second and I guess it just scared me and I didn't know what to do," said friend Anna Olejnicak.

The news spread quickly through school. Basketball teammate Emily Estep says she will always remember Carly's bubbly attitude.

"She had the best way of making everyone smile. There was not a day that didn't go by that I did not have a good laugh out of her," Estep said.

Westwood Church Pastor Tania Haber said Carly was in the church confirmation program and was a "beautiful bright vivacious kid."

This statement was posted on the church's Facebook page:

"It is with heavy hearts that we post here today. After a courageous battle, Carly passed away this afternoon. She was surrounded by her loving parents, brother, grandparents and a few precious friends as she passed and was welcomed into the arms of her savior.

Her family will be making arrangements over the next days and ask that you continue to support them in prayer.

Details regarding visitation and funeral will be posted here.
On behalf of Sean, Sandy and Wayatt, thank you for the ways you have surrounded them these past weeks in prayer and concern. May you continue to lift them up in this difficult time.

May peace and mercy hold us in the coming days,
Dannica Montplaisir
"

School

All girls' basketball games scheduled at St. Louis Park High School against Fridley have been canceled as Carly's teammates mourn her loss.

Counselors will be available at the school to students.

Pediatric Flu Deaths

Anne Valaas-Turner, a Pediatrician of Allina Health, tells KSTP childhood deaths from influenza are rare. She says on average, according to the CDC, during the last 30 years, there were two deaths per million in children who get the flu.

"The flu is more dangerous to children with underlying health issues," said Valaas-Turner.

There have been two pediatric deaths in Minnesota so far this flu season; 18 across the US. Overall 5 people have died from the flu in Minnesota.

When to See the Doctor

Valaas-Turner says parents should bring children in when:

She says a fever in and of itself is not dangerous.

"You don't need to go to the doctor for the fever alone. You go to the doctor if you can't manage the symptoms or can't fall out of the fever on your own," Vlaas-Turner said.

It appears Carly did everything she was supposed to, to prevent the flu. Several of her classmates say, they have learned a valuable lesson in their friend's death: life can be cut short at anytime.

For more on the flu from the Minnesota Department of Health, click here.