The flu has killed a child in Maryland for the first time this season, health officials said Tuesday.

In a news release, the Maryland Department of Health confirmed the first influenza-related pediatric death of the 2017-2018 season. Flu-related deaths must be reported to the department, the release said.

The death comes during a particularly challenging flu season nationwide, with the disease causing the deaths of dozens of children.

A spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Health said it could not release any details about the victim, including age, gender or location.

“Influenza is an extremely serious, and sometimes deadly, disease, and this flu season has been proven to be particularly severe,” Howard Haft, deputy secretary for Public Health Services, said in a statement. “We’re continuing to urge Marylanders to get their flu shots, stay home from work if they are sick, and practice other preventative measures to stop the spread of flu.”

Officials encouraged residents to participate in the state’s flu tracking survey by visiting