Mother believes teen daughter is first pediatric flu victim this season in Virginia


LEESBURG, Va. (WAVY/WJLA) — Just two days ago, the Virginia Department of Health reported the first flu-related pediatric death of the season.

A mother in northern Virginia believes her 16-year-old daughter is the subject of the announcement.

Colette Giovanniello is heartbroken after her 16-year-old daughter Katie unexpectedly passed away after coming down with the flu.

“We don’t really know how we’re going to go on without Katie because she was like the light of our family,” she said.

Katie was diagnosed with Influenza B and died five days later.

“This is real hard because its so sudden,” said Giovanniello.

Giovanniello asked the hospital for an autopsy to confirm if Katie did, in fact, die from the flu.

“I know something wasn’t right and I don’t know what it was,” said Giovanniello. “I want to know what it was that happened in her body.”

The Virginia Department of Heath won’t release any information about the victim, except that they were between 13 and 17 years old.

Giovanniello says her daughter did get a flu shot.

“In a mother’s mind, it’s what could I have done? What did I miss? You know, you start blaming yourself, it’s like of course a natural instinct,” said Giovanniello.

The Virginia Department of Health has reported 5,100 flu infections this season — nearly 63 percent were Influenza B, which is what Katie had.

“We’re really going to miss her,” she said.

Katie’s classmates wore green on Tuesday to show their support for her family. The family does have a GoFundMe to help pay for medical expenses.

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