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Bossier Parish 3rd grader dies from H1N1 - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Bossier Parish 3rd grader dies from H1N1

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Kaitlyn Mills, 8 Kaitlyn Mills, 8
BOSSIER PARISH, La. (KTBS) -

Bossier Parish third grader Kaitlyn Mills was at school Tuesday, playing with her friends. But the very next day, she died in the hospital from the H1N1 flu virus.

Mills attended Central Park Elementary School in Bossier City. Dee Davidson, Mills' grandmother, said the little girl complained of her back being sore when she got home from school Tuesday. She said Wednesday the illness got worse. She had a fever, started vomiting and went unconscious for a minute while getting sick. That's when Mills' father called 911.

Davidson cried, "It was all so fast!"

The family said they thought she might be dehydrated. The hospital gave Mills IV fluids, but the child never got better. She passed away on Wednesday.

Mills' mother, Christian Brown, said she is "at ease knowing her daughter is in heaven." She said she knows this because the entire time Mills could not breathe, she was praying.

The news of mills' death made it to her school and classmates Thursday.

"First thing they said when they got in the truck. They couldn't get in fast enough," said Pamela Thomas, who spoke to KTBS while waiting in line to pick up her grandniece and nephew at Central Park Elementary. "They said one of our students died from the flu."

As a mother and grandmother, Thomas could not imagine what Mills' family is going through right now.

"It's heartbreaking," she said. "It's very heartbreaking. You can't protect your child the way you want to when its something like that."

Sonja Bailes, Bossier Parish Schools Public Relations Liaison, said grief counselors were on campus to help students cope with the loss of their classmate.

"They're having tough time with it," said Bailes. "Kaitlyn was well liked. She had a lot of friends."

Bailes said that a letter was sent home to parents informing them that a student had died Thursday afternoon. She said the rooms in question were disinfected, and the school staff works with the children to keep their hands clean by washing their hands with soap and water.

"Hand washing is the key," Bailes said. "That is the number one way to prevent infection. And to keep their hands away from their mouths and noses. That's really big when you're talking about younger kids."

Visitation for Mills will be on Tuesday, January 14 at 6:00 p.m. at the Winnfield Funeral Home 3701 Hollywood Avenue in Shreveport. Her funeral will be held on Wednesday, January 15 at 11:30 a.m. at New Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Bossier City.

An account has been set up at Barksdale Federal Credit Union in Kaitlyn Mills' name to help with expenses.  That account number is 1363582501 and the routing number is 311175093.

The Department of Health and Hospitals investigated the case and confirmed Friday that the child did die from H1N1 flu.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to this child's family and friends," said DHH Secretary Kathy Kliebert. "It is important we all remain vigilant for symptoms of flu-like illness and be serious about taking preventative measures against the spread of flu."

This is the first confirmed child death in Louisiana this flu season. 

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