Official urges flu shots after New Canaan 4th-grader’s death

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NEW CANAAN -

New Canaan's health director is urging classmates who came in contact with a 10-year-old student who died over the weekend to get the flu shot.

West Elementary in New Canaan brought in grief counselors Tuesday following the death of Nico Mallozzi, a fourth-grader who delivered the school's afternoon announcements.

"He was very spirited, happy, the kind of kid who leaves a mark on your heart as an educator," says Dr. Bryan Luizzi, the superintendent. "Just makes you smile every time you see him."

A GoFundMe campaign in his name has raised almost $100,000 since yesterday as the community comes to terms with the unexpected death.

Mallozzi died Sunday morning after returning from a hockey tournament in Buffalo, according to the health director, Dr. David Reed. He tested positive for the flu virus, which worsened into pneumonia and eventually led to sepsis.

Dr. Reed is urging students who came in contact with Mallozzi to take Tamiflu, a flu vaccine, as a precaution.

The head of infectious disease at Stamford Hospital, Dr. Michael Parry, says the flu can sometimes create severe problems.

"It can cause brain inflammation on occasion, cause spinal cord inflammation and even heart-muscle inflammation," he says.

The school is cleaning its buildings in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus. Grief counselors are working with both students and their parents.

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