Exeter boy youngest to die from flu

Ben Fox
Ben Fox

A nine-year-old boy has died of flu just 48 hours after showing symptoms.

Coby Simons, from Whipton near Exeter, is believed to be the youngest person to die in the latest outbreak of flu. His heartbroken parents Jamie Chrichard and Louise Simons have paid tribute to their son.

A post mortem examination has confirmed Coby had type B flu virus and streptococcus pneumoniae, a common cause of pneumonia. The number of people to have died after contracting flu in the UK this winter is the highest in decades and is currently over 200. However, Louise said it could be up to 12 weeks before Coby’s cause of death is confirmed.

The family say they are living every parent’s worst nightmare and have paid tribute to their ‘perfect’ boy who passed away on January 24, at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital.

Coby, who was rarely ill, first complained of not feeling well six days before his death. He later started displaying some of the symptoms associated with type B flu and passed away after a very rapid two day deterioration in hospital. His parents say they rushed him to A&E after he had spent the day feeling sleepy and achy, before developing puffy eyes. His mum Louise, 29, said: “It’s like being in a bad dream – it doesn’t feel real. It’s still such a shock. He would have been ten in two months’ time.

‘He never gets ill. He probably gets poorly once a year if that. We want people to be aware of what happened to our son and to know the symptoms to look out for.”

Louise said they are now focusing on trying to give Coby the best send-off possible at his funeral at the end of February.

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