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Ohio’s first flu-related child death: Clayton boy, 4, dies at Dayton Children’s

A 4-year-old Clayton boy has died from the flu in Montgomery County.

The child, Jonah S. Rieben, of Clayton, was identifed by the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office Wednesday morning. His official cause and manner have not been determined by the coroner’s office.

Rieben died on Jan. 6 after being admitted to Dayton Children’s Hospital. It is the first pediatric flu-related death in Ohio this year. Last flu season there were seven pediatric deaths in Ohio.

The Ohio Department of Health announced Wednesday afternoon a 1-year-old boy from Lucas County also died from the flu, becoming the second pediatric flu-related death in the state. 

Jonah Rieben, who was born in Bulgaria, was adopted by the Rieben family in February 2017. He had 16 brother and sisters. “A brave warrior who fought and overcame many difficult battles throughout his short life, Jonah inspired us all with his strength and resiliency,” an obituary stated. 

“It is a tragedy anytime a loved one is lost and we extend our condolences to the family and friends who are affected,” said Dr. Michael Dohn, medical director, Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County.

The family of Jonah Sanford Rieben created a Life Tributes page to make it easy to share memories about him on kindredfuneralhome.com. The family shared photos and memories about Jonah on the website. (CONTRIBUTED)

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Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months or older get the flu shot as soon as possible. It’s still not too late to get vaccinated as the flu season extends until the end of spring.

“No parent should ever have to suffer the loss of a child to the flu. Our hearts go out the family,” said Jon Woltmann, infectious disease department at Dayton Children’s Hospital. “We encourage parents to get their children vaccinated to not only protect them, but children who are not able to get the vaccine due to underlying health conditions.”

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