DENVER (KKTV) - A second child succumbed to influenza in Colorado this flu season.
11 News confirmed the tragic news with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) on Wednesday. Few details on Najee's death were shared.
"The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment can confirm that a preschool-aged child in southern Colorado has died of flu," CDPHE wrote in a statement to 11 News. "The death is the second pediatric flu death in Colorado this season. The department does not have any records that show whether the child was vaccinated against influenza."
The little boy's devastated mother told 11 News reporter Danielle Kreutter her son was a vibrant boy who was always able to make people laugh.
"He was the light of everybody's day. ... He's full of joy, full of energy, has the most beautiful smile with his super deep dimples."
She says Najee, or "Junior" as he was usually known, had been healthy while others in the family fell ill.
"He was my only son that wasn't sick," she told 11 News, saying that one of her other sons recently tested positive for the flu and she had spent weeks in and out of the hospital with him.
But then Sunday, Najee started showing symptoms. Within a few days, he died.
"I'm hurting so bad right now and so is his dad and brothers. Our whole family is hurting and it feels like we failed him because we did what we had to do."
The health department has not released whether Najee was vaccinated, and the family did not want to comment on that.
A GoFundMe is in place to help the family cover medical expenses from when Najee was being cared for. Click here for the GoFundMe page.
Click here for the influenza report from the state. The report is updated each Tuesday and has yet to be updated since the second death.
The health department tells 11 News the first child in Colorado to die from the flu this season was school-aged and lived in a rural community outside the Denver Metro. The health department said they had no documentation showing the child received a flu vaccine.
CDPHE does not report adult deaths tied to the flu.
"While flu is circulating, it is not too late to get a flu shot, and we recommend everyone ages six months and older who has not had the yearly vaccine, get it," CDPHE added. "Children who are younger than 9 years who are getting the flu vaccine for the first time, and those under 9 who have only previously gotten one dose of the vaccine, should get two doses of the vaccine. The first dose should be given as soon as the vaccine becomes available. The second dose should be given at least 28 days after the first dose."