BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A community in Connecticut is remembering a 10-year-old boy. He died after coming to Buffalo for a hockey tournament. Health officials in his hometown are now blaming the flu for his death.
The boy’s name is Nico Mallozzi. He plays for the Connecticut Roughriders. They played in four games around the Buffalo-area Friday and Saturday.
“He was absolutely a hockey player,” Bryan Luizzi told CBS affiliate WFSB. Luizzi is the superintendent of schools in New Canaan, Connecticut, Mallozzi’s hometown. “Everyone in the building knows Nico, knows who he is and just loved him. We’re really going to miss him.”
According to Dr. David Reed, the Director of Health in New Canaan, Mallozzi began feeling sick Thursday. But he still made the trip to Buffalo for the tournament.
It’s unclear whether Mallozzi attended any of his team’s games while he was in Buffalo. But staff at the Buffalo Niagara Marriott in Amherst confirm that his team stayed in the hotel over the weekend. A manager tells News 4 their floor has been quarantined and sanitized. It could re-open as early as Tuesday night.
“He wanted to be with his team, and we know from all kinds of sports, even if you’re not playing, you try to be with your team,” Dr. Reed said.
Reed says while in Buffalo, Mallozzi was taken to Oishei Children’s Hospital, which is where he was diagnosed with the flu. He was returning home to New Canaan, when an ambulance rushed him to a hospital in the Catskills. That’s where Reed says Mallozzi died.
“The report is that his death was consistent with the flu ‘type B’, complicated by pneumonia, which led to overwhelming infection, which we call sepsis,” Dr. Reed said.
“The proportion of ‘influenza B’ cases right now is a little bit higher than we typically see this time of year,” said Erie County Health Commissioner Gale Burstein.
Burstein says about a third of the cases reported right now are ‘type B’ cases. She also says it’s time for a flu shot, if you haven’t already received one.
This is a time where we really have to think seriously to make sure we are doing the right things to make sure that we and our families are fully protected against influenza,” Dr. Burstein said.