A 1-year-old Roosevelt County child has died of an influenza-related illness, the first pediatric fatality since flu season began in October, the state Department of Health said Thursday.

The department said 52 pneumonia- and influenza-related deaths have been reported in New Mexico during flu season and warned the illness is spreading in all regions of the state. 

The percentage of visits to outpatient medical clinics for flu-related symptoms has spiked, and the Department of Health said peak activity has not yet been reached.

In a news release, Department of Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel advised New Mexicans to get a flu shot, noting the seasonal vaccine covers "multiple strains, including the ones currently circulating."

The department said high-risk groups, such as children younger than 5 — but especially kids under 2 — should get a vaccine.

Other key demographics include pregnant women; people 50 and older; people with medical conditions including diabetes, lung or heart disease; those in nursing homes; and Native Americans.

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