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4-year-old dies after anti-vaxxers urge mom not to treat his flu

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NBC News

(KYMA, KECY)- A four-year-old from Colorado dies from the flu after anti-vaxxers urged his mom not to give her son Tamiflu.

NBC News reports Facebook groups against vaccinations have become a resource for people seeking out a wide variety of medical information.

However, a group on Facebook called "Stop Mandatory Vaccination," is one of the largest known health misinformation group with more than 139,000 members.

According to NBC News, members of the group have previously spread conspiracies that outbreaks of preventable diseases are "hoaxes" perpetrated by the government.

The mother of the four-year-old said she had consulted group members while noting she had declined to fill a prescription written by a doctor.

The mother said the child had not been diagnosed yet, however, he was running a fever and had a seizure. She says her two of her four children had been diagnosed with the flu, and the doctor had prescribed the antiviral Tamiflu for everyone in the household.

“The doc prescribed Tamiflu I did not pick it up,” she wrote.

NBC News said one of the 45 comments on the mother’s Facebook post suggested medical attention. The child was eventually hospitalized and died four days later, according to a GoFundMe started on his behalf by his family.

NBC News says the mother wrote that she tried "natural cures" including peppermint oil, Vitamin C, and lavender. Since the remedies were not working, she asked the group for advice.

A Facebook spokesperson said in an emailed statement: “This is a tragedy and our thoughts are with his family and loved ones. We don’t want vaccine misinformation on Facebook, which is why we’re working hard to reduce it everywhere on the platform, including in private groups.”

In an emailed statement, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment confirmed that the preschooler had died from the flu and said it did not have records showing whether the child was vaccinated, according to NBC News.

Officials say it's not too late to get a flu shot and recommend everyone ages six months and older to get it.

Health / Top Stories

Sumiko Keil

Sumiko Keil has served as the Digital Content Producer since March 2019.

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