A 12-year-old Milford boy is the first child to die from flu-related illness in Massachusetts this winter.
The boy, identified by town officials as Aaron Zenus, died Wednesday after being treated at a hospital.
Milford School Superintendent Kevin McIntyre said in a statement that it was a sad day for the town and that Aaron was a beloved member of the school community. Grief counselors will be available at Stacy Middle School where the boy was a seventh-grader.
Zenus' aunt told NBC10 Boston that he caught the flu last weekend. After several days, his family took him to the hospital.
Parents like Susan Boudreau are in shock over the boy's death.
"I can imagine as a parent going through that at all," said Boudreau. "I mean complications do happen. Tragedy happens. It's beyond heartbreaking."
Hopkinton mother Cynthia Gebler said the tragedy is one reason why flu shots are a must.
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"I have children that have health issues so it's almost required for them to have the flu shot," Gebler said.
State public health officials said it was the first pediatric flu-related death in Massachusetts this season.
The most recent weekly flu report from the Department of Public Health indicated an increase in rates of flu-like illness in the state.