BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - Health officials in New Canaan, Connecticut are confirming that 10-year-old Nico Mallozzi appears to have died after contracting the flu and developing a pneumonia complication that lead to sepsis and death. The boy was in Buffalo over the weekend as part of a youth hockey tournament called The Cup North American Championship.
Mallozzi was a member of the Connecticut Roughriders Hockey Club. WFSB-TV in Connecticut is reporting that Mallozzi did not play in the tournament and he left early because of being sick the entire weekend. Mallozzi died at a hospital Sunday morning.
Dr. David Reed, the New Canaan Health Director, told WFSB-TV that anyone, or their family member, who had contact with Mallozzi or his brother should contact a pediatrician.
The Connecticut Roughriders Hockey Club posted the following statement on its webpage:
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mallozzi family right now.It is a very sad day for all of us, Nico was a great kid with a great smile and he will be missed greatly. We will never forget you, Nico."
The New York State Department of Health issued the following statement:
"The New York State Department of Health is aware of this death and is in close consultation with the Connecticut Department of Public Health, which is leading the investigation. New York’s Wadsworth Center Laboratory is currently assisting Connecticut with confirmatory testing."
During an afternoon news conference, Erie County Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale Burstein, said reports of the child's death are a concern because it is a reminder of how serious the flu is this year. Burstein is urging people who have not gotten a flu vaccine to do so as soon as possible.
The doctor said there are many people currently walking around who have symptoms of the flu. She advises people who are having severe flu symptoms to seek a doctor's care. In addition, Burstein is reminding the public to take steps to prevent the spread of germs by washing hands often, keeping hands away from eyes, nose and mouth, and sneezing into your sleeve.
People who have a fever greater than 101 degrees for more than 24 hours should seek treatment.
The Connecticut Roughriders Hockey Club is also implementing steps after Nico Mallozzi's death:
Effective immediately, The Connecticut RoughRiders, along with other area hockey organizations, is taking special precautions for the next few weeks because of an increase of influenza (flu) in the state of Connecticut. Although anyone can get the flu, it is most serious in the elderly, very young children, people with chronic illnesses (such as lung disease, cancer, heart disease, or diabetes), or those with weakened immune systems. Influenza spreads easily in discharges from the nose and throat, usually when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
We ask that you do the following to help us prevent further spread of flu among our families:
Do not attend practices or games if you know you are sick. Wait to until you have been without a fever for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication).
Frequent and thorough hand washing is a MUST. Wash your hands frequently using antibacterial soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
There is to be no sharing of water bottles during practices or games.
Players must bring their own water bottles to games and practices.
Gloves are to remain on at the end of the games on the handshake line.
Please be diligent in either washing/spraying/wiping down all hockey equipment (including sticks, bags, etc).
7 Eyewitness News will have more on this story at 5 & 6.