A four-year-old boy from Colorado died from the flu after his mother decided not to give him an antiviral medication prescribed by his doctor. After two of her four children were diagnosed with the flu, their doctor prescribed everybody in the household Tamiflu. Instead of taking the medication, the woman went to Facebook and asked the members of an anti-vaccination group for advice.
The post has since been deleted, but according to NBC News, she explained that she had tried natural cures such as peppermint oil, Vitamin C, and lavender, but they were not helping. She wrote that while her son had not been diagnosed with the flu, he suffered a seizure and had a high fever.
Around 45 people replied, offering her advice, but none of them suggested getting the young boy medical attention. Instead, they told her to try using herbs such as elderberry and thyme.
Four days later, the young boy was rushed to the hospital where he died.
"The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment can confirm that a preschool-aged child in southern Colorado has died of flu," CDPHE wrote in a statement to 11 News. "The death is the second pediatric flu death in Colorado this season."
While Facebook has made efforts to reduce the visibility of anti-vaccination posts, the social media company stopped short of banning them altogether.
"This is a tragedy, and our thoughts are with his family and loved ones," Facebook said in an emailed statement to NBC News. "We don't want vaccine misinformation on Facebook, which is why we're working hard to reduce it everywhere on the platform, including in private groups."