Melbourne girl, 13, dies from the flu as national death toll nears 300

@NOTE: This article is more than 8 months old

Crystal-lee Wightley dies at her family’s home three days after getting sick

Mon 8 Jul 2019

Australia’s flu season has claimed the lives of 287 people including the 13-year-old Melbourne girl Crystal-lee Wightley

Australia’s flu season has claimed the lives of 287 people including the 13-year-old Melbourne girl Crystal-lee Wightley, who died last week. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A Melbourne family say they are heartbroken after a 13-year-old girl died from the flu late last week, as the national death toll nears 300.

Crystal-lee Wightley had the flu for three days before she died at her family’s home.

So far this year there have been 131,000 flu cases across Australia and 287 deaths nationally, according to the federal health department.

Crystal-lee’s grandmother, Karyn James Wightley, posted an emotional tribute to her first-born granddaughter on Facebook.

“My darling I am heartbroken and life will never be the same. Fly with the Angels my darling girl. Nanny will always miss you,” she said.

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On the other side of the country another family is mourning the loss of a toddler to the flu.

Elijah David Huynh, two, from Karratha in Western Australia’s north, died on Tuesday at Perth’s children’s hospital.

His grieving father, Dave Huynh, said his son will always be in his heart.

“Having to say goodbye to you so soon just doesn’t feel real. You were and still are the love of our lives, we couldn’t thank you enough for making us the happiest parents in the world,” Huynh wrote on Facebook.

Multiple nursing homes across New South Wales are also grappling with flu outbreaks.

The NSW health department has urged family and friends of aged-care residents to get vaccinated against flu or delay visiting if unwell.

The NSW health director of communicable diseases, Vicky Sheppeard, said there had been 26 influenza outbreaks in state aged-care facilities last week.

“The elderly are highly vulnerable to influenza and the flu jab is critical to reducing the risk of visitors catching the virus and bringing it into aged-care homes,” Dr Sheppeard said in a statement.

There have been 66 confirmed deaths of people aged over 60 years from the flu in NSW, including nine deaths last week.

A nursing home near Wollongong was placed in lockdown following an outbreak which began on the June long weekend.

An estimated 20 residents and 20 staff contracted flu symptoms and five residents received hospital treatment. Three died. Facebook Twitter Pinterest

The South Australian government has launched a flu education campaign – the Flu Stops with You – in the wake of a horror season in that state.

“The flu virus is spread by human contact and can live up to 48 hours on hard, smooth surfaces such as door handles, playground equipment and desktops,” the health minister, Stephen Wade, said in a statement.