4-year-old boy dies in Ohio's first pediatric flu-related death of the season

  • Kara Driscoll, Dayton Daily News
3:48 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 National/World News

A 4-year-old Ohio boy has died from the flu in Montgomery County.

The child, Jonah S. Rieben, of Clayton, was identified by the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office Wednesday morning. The official cause and manner of his death have not been determined by the coroner’s office.

Rieben died on Jan. 6 after being admitted to Dayton Children’s Hospital. It is the first pediatric flu-related death in Ohio this year. Last flu season there were seven pediatric deaths in Ohio.

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The Ohio Department of Health announced Wednesday afternoon a 1-year-old boy from Lucas County also died from the flu, becoming the second pediatric flu-related death in the state. 

Jonah Rieben, who was born in Bulgaria, was adopted by the Rieben family in February 2017. He had 16 brothers and sisters. “A brave warrior who fought and overcame many difficult battles throughout his short life, Jonah inspired us all with his strength and resiliency,” an obituary stated. 

“It is a tragedy anytime a loved one is lost and we extend our condolences to the family and friends who are affected,” said Dr. Michael Dohn, medical director, Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County.

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Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months or older get a flu shot as soon as possible. It’s still not too late to get vaccinated as the flu season extends until the end of spring. 

“No parent should ever have to suffer the loss of a child to the flu. Our hearts go out the family,” said Jon Woltmann with the infectious disease department at Dayton Children’s Hospital. “We encourage parents to get their children vaccinated to not only protect them, but children who are not able to get the vaccine due to underlying health conditions.”

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