Lowell family mourning loss of 4-year-old who died from flu-related illness

LOWELL, MASS. (WHDH) - A Lowell family is mourning the loss of their 4-year-old daughter, who state health officials say is the third flu-associated pediatric death in the Bay State this season.

Sopheak Paak, the father of the little girl who died, spoke near a small memorial that was set up in the family’s living room, complete with a plate of food, candles, and incense. Her 6-year-old brother, he said, looks after it.

“She’s four years old, and she’s smart,” he said. “My wife, she cries every day.”

Paak says he brought his daughter to the emergency room at Lowell General Hospital on Tuesday last week.

Doctors treated her and sent her home. The fever broke Thursday and Friday.

“Everything was normal, but she (felt) tired and she (slept),” Paak said.

Paak says his daughter had an allergic reaction to seafood a week before her bout with the flu.

“I think this is not flu,” Paak said.

Lowell General Hospital and the State Department of Public Health won’t comment on the medical details, citing privacy rules for healthcare.

Another girl in Middlesex County and a teen in Worcester County also died of complications from the flu.

The state’s Director of Epidemiology, Dr. Larry Madoff, says: “These deaths are tragic and are a reminder of the dangers of flu and the importance of flu vaccination.”

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