Philly-Area School District On ‘High Alert’ After Flu Death

BROOMALL, PA — After one of its elementary students died from complications due to influenza, a Philadelphia-area school district is warning families that other students may have been exposed to the virus.

The Marple Newtown School District district said Sunday that Matthew David Wzorek, 7, died from complications related to the flu. Wzorek, known to his family as “Smiley,” was a second-grade student at Worrell Elementary School.

“In all likelihood, all of the students in this 2nd grade classroom have been exposed to the Influenza B virus,” the district said in a follow up statement. “Furthermore, it is probable that other students or staff members in Worrall have been exposed to the virus. Quite frankly, since the virus is airborne, the entire district should be on high alert for signs and symptoms of the flu.”

The district said Matthew’s teacher has influenza B and is being treated with Tamiflu and will be out of school this week.

“Any students, staff, or anyone, with cold or flu like symptoms such as redness of the eyes, fever, coughing, sneezing, chills, body aches, or any respiratory discomfort should seek immediate medical attention and depending on the diagnosis take Tamilfu as prescribed,” the district said.

Student showing these symptoms will be sent home immediately. They should be kept home and seek medical attention, the district said.

Influenza B has a 4-day incubation period, meaning it can spread even before those infected with it show symptoms.

Wzorek is survived by his father, Barry, his mother, Rebecca, and his brother, Jacob, as well as four grandparents, according to his obituary.

Known as “Smiley,” Matthew loved Disney, Harry Potter, cuddling with his family, basketball, baseball, football, and soccer.

Funeral services will be private, the family said in the obituary.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health’s most recent data, which goes through Feb. 8, indicates 47 influenza-associated deaths have occurred during this flu season. In that data, no pediatric deaths were reported.

The majority of flu-related deaths in Pennsylvania this year occurred among those 65 and older.

Thirty four people in that age group are among the 47 deaths.

Six people age 19 to 49 have died from the flu and seven people between 50 and 64 have died, the state Department of Health said.

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