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Australia'Kind, smart, beautiful' schoolgirl dies just days after falling ill with flu

05:41  07 july  2019
05:41  07 july  2019 Source:   9news.com.au

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A 13-year-old Melbourne schoolgirl has died just days after coming down with flu-like symptoms. Devastated family members have paid tribute Crystal-Lee Wightley, describing her as a kind, caring, sports-loving teen.

“Crystal was kind, smart, beautiful and had come backs that would make a room stop and then laugh,” family member Channi Gartland wrote in a post on Facebook.

'Kind, smart, beautiful' schoolgirl dies just days after falling ill with flu © Facebook Crystal-Lee Wightley was looking forward to her 14th birthday. “She was getting excited and counting down the weeks to her 14th birthday.”

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Ms Gartland wrote that Crystal-Lee had only became ill on Tuesday, after several other family members had been sick with the virus.

In the early hours of Friday morning, Crystal-Lee’s condition took a turn for the worse and an ambulance was called. She died soon after.

Crystal-Lee’s grandmother Karyn Wightley wrote in a post on Facebook that she had been left heartbroken and devastated by her eldest granddaughter’s death.

“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,”

“Missed and loved always I just can't stop crying beautiful girl.”

'Kind, smart, beautiful' schoolgirl dies just days after falling ill with flu © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd Doctors say some strains may have 'mutated' since this year's vaccine was developed. Crystal-Lee’s tragic death takes the number of Victorians who have died from the flu this year to 50, in what is shaping up to be one of the deadliest seasons for years.

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More than 220 people have died of complications from the flu and more than 120,000 Australians have been hit by the virus so far this year.

Yesterday, experts warned one of the strains of the flu had mutated, making the flu vaccine potentially ineffective for that particular strain.

However, doctors are still advising people get vaccinated.

Dr Penny Adams, explained: “On the surface of the influenza virus there are a couple of proteins called H and N. Sometimes those pre proteins can change slightly. We make vaccines to target those proteins.”

'Kind, smart, beautiful' schoolgirl dies just days after falling ill with flu © Facebook Several members of Crystal-Lee's family had been struck down by the virus. “If the proteins change our vaccines might not be as effective. The flu vaccine we have all got this winter it is effective.

“The flu vaccine we have covers four strains. It is only one strain that has changed.

It is still effective for the others.”

“I give the analogy it is a bit like a seatbelt in a car. You can still have a car accident but if have got your seatbelt on you will have more protection, less injuries. I still strongly recommend the vaccine, it is 50 percent effective but it is better than not having the vaccine at all.”

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