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Article updated: 4/24/2013 4:23 PM

Bartlett sixth-grader dies after flu-like illness

By Sara Hooker

Students and faculty at Centennial Elementary School in Bartlett are mourning the loss of a sixth-grade girl who recently died after experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Elgin Area School District U-46 officials activated the crisis team Sunday night, and professionals were on hand at the school, 234 Stearns Road, Monday and Tuesday to help students and staff. "It's very sudden and tragic. It's a terrible loss," said John Heiderscheidt, the district's coordinator of safety and security.

"Our hearts go out to the family and our community. Our efforts with the crisis team is to help students and staff members cope with this loss and help us regain our function as we move forward."

The district isn't naming the student but said she was sick and did not attend school last week.

"We did have communication with the family, as we do with any student who is out sick," he said.

Because the death was possibly caused by influenza-related complications, the DuPage County Health Department sent out a letter to families with Centennial Elementary students to remind them of the symptoms of influenza and encourage anyone who has not had the flu vaccine to get one.

Influenza activity has decreased some, but the flu season can extend into May, according to the statement.

The flu is most commonly spread through nose and throat secretions. Signs and symptoms of the flu include a fever of 100 or more degrees, cough, sore throat, runny or stuff nose, body aches, headache, and fatigue.

Students should be fever free for 24 hours before returning to school, cover their mouths and nose when sneezing or coughing, avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth, and not share eating utensils or drinking containers.

"The DuPage County Health Department will continue to work together with District U-46 school officials toward closely monitoring disease activity. If you or your physician have any questions, please contact the DuPage County Health Department at (630) 221-7553," the release said.

For more info, visit www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm.

Memorial plans to honor the student have not been set, Heiderscheidt said.

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