Fast-acting flu virus may have claimed another young Australian

Crystal-Lee Wightley
Crystal-Lee Wightley. Photo credit: Facebook/karynleah

A 13-year old girl has died just days after coming down with flu-like symptoms. 

Crystal-Lee Wightley, 13, from Melbourne got sick on Tuesday after several other family members had previously battled the flu virus, according to a Facebook post from family member Channi Garland.

However, Wightley was struck down much harder and, on Friday morning was taken to hospital after her symptoms worsened. She passed away just hours later.

"Crystal was only 13. She was getting excited and counting down the weeks to her 14th birthday," Garland's post read.

"Crystal was kind, smart, beautiful and had comebacks that would make a room stop and then laugh."

Karyn Wightley, Crystal-Lee's grandmother, wrote her own Facebook post expressing her grief at the death of her eldest grandchild.

"My darling I am heartbroken and life will never be the same. Fly with the angels my darling girl. Nanny will always miss you. Big Poppy and Big Nanny will be waiting to put their arms around you and keep you safe until we meet again."

Whitley's death comes just days after the parents of Elijah Huynh, 2, watched on helplessly as their son quickly succumbed to an Influenza A virus that's already caused the deaths of over 200 Australians this year.

There are fears that the pandemic currently affecting Australia could easily become a problem for New Zealand too.

Dr Nikki Turner, the Immunisation Advisory Centre director, said: "There's only a bit of water between us and Australia, someone just needs to carry a respiratory illness on a plane and it will spread around NZ."

Vaccinations this year are even more urgent. But there's good news for those who act.

"We're seeing the same kinds of flu as they're seeing in Australia. Currently the flu strains are well matched by the vaccine we're using at the moment," said Dr Turner.