Death of Norwalk 6-Year-Old Might be Flu-Related: Mayor

Health officials are looking into whether the death of a 6-year-old girl in Norwalk is related to complications from the flu, according to the city's mayor.

The Columbus Magnet School student, Emma Splan, died Saturday night and the death is being investigated as possibly flu-related, according to Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling. 

NBC Connecticut's sister station NBC New York spoke to a friend of the family, who said the sudden death has left the family devastated.

"These guys did it the right way. They got her a flu shot. They got her to a doctor. They’re the best parents a child could have. They didn’t wait. They didn’t linger. And apparently we all know this flu season is crazy," said Sarah Lutkus, a friend of Emma's mother Christy, who flew up from Florida to support the family. 

Lutkus said Christy told her they first went to the doctor on Thursday and confirmed Emma had the flu. On Sunday, Emma was vomiting and not drinking much so they went back to the doctor, who sent them to the hospital. Within the next eight hours, things went downhill.

“She went to the doctor, Christy said in the morning around 9:30, and they were at Stamford around 3 and within the next eight hours … yeah.”

Lutkus said Emma was the kind of child who always wanted to look out for others. 

"Pay it forward for her. She was always doing that for kids, man. She gave my daughters all of her leftover clothes. I woke up this morning before knowing she had passed. My girls were dressed in all of her clothes. She wanted to make sure others were taken care of,” Lutkus said.

Columbus Principal Medard Thomas sent a letter to the school community confirming Emma's death and stating that counselors would be available at Columbus Magnet starting Tuesday and for as long as needed.

"We could always count on Emma constantly doing the right thing at school and thriving. Our hearts go out to her loving parents: Christy Pugh, and David Splan. We are devastated by their loss. This tragedy has brought us unimaginable sorrow and heartache, but as a community, we possess the spirit and fortitude to work through this unspeakably tragic time."

Thomas went on to say that as a precaution school was undergoing a deep cleaning before students returned Tuesday and that custodians would continue to focus on disinfecting any "high-touch" areas to prevent the spread of illness.

The full letter can be viewed below.

Calls to the Health Department were not immediately returned. 

Health officials have not confirmed if the death is definitely flu-related. If it is, it adds to the growing list of flu deaths in Connecticut this year. So far there have been 77 deaths in the state, which is more deaths than the past five flu seasons.

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