A Wexford nursery has closed for a week after the sudden death of one of its students

The Co. Wexford community of Monamolin is in mourning after the sudden death of three-year-old Ollie Dempsey. The cause of death is unknown, as of yet. It is believed the toddler was healthy but had shown flu-like symptoms before his death.

"As far as I'm aware Ollie was in good health but it's hard to know the cause of death at this stage. It's just an awful tragedy, the whole community is deeply affected by this. It's unimaginable heartbreak for the family,” local Labour Councillor George Lawlor told the Irish Independent.

"My thoughts and condolences are with the Dempsey family."

Read more: Deadly "Aussie Flu" sweeps Ireland in dangerous outbreak

Rest in peace to the little toddler. 😞https://t.co/YDoDyq2Pt4

— Buzz.ie (@buzzdotie) January 25, 2018

It is reported that Ollie’s school, a local nursery, has closed for the week.

"The whole community is in shock, the family is traumatized. It's absolutely heartbreaking. They're a young family, well-known in the area. It really is such a tragic loss," said local Independent councilor Mary Farrell.

The toddler’s funeral will take place this Friday at St Moling's Church Monamolin for Mass Of The Angels at 1 pm.

The flu has already claimed 34 lives in Ireland this season and is set to last for at least another five weeks. It is predicted that we are now in week seven of a 12-week season. The death toll rose by ten in the last week in Ireland, a spike believed to have been caused by the January return to school.

Read more: Mother of woman who died of flu aged 27 urges young people to take virus symptoms seriously

Flu deaths in the US have increased in 2018. Image: iStock.

Flu deaths in the US have increased in 2018. Image: iStock.

The 2018 season is not believed to be particularly severe, however, as there is a dominance of the B flu strain, which is not thought to be virulent. The Health Service Executive had warned early in the year about the deadly "Aussie" flu which was sweeping the country. An Irish bishop even suspended the "peace be with you" handshake at Mass to help combat the spread of the flu strain. 

The flu season in the US, however, is already the most widespread on record since health officials began keeping track 13 years ago. Since the season started on October 1, more than 8,900 people have been hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza. There has also been a total number of 30 pediatric deaths as a result of this flu season. The 2018 season is believed to have started early, with the whole of the US currently experiencing widespread and intense flu activity.