Remembering 5-year-old H1N1 victim: 'It gives his life meaning'

Remembering 5-year-old H1N1 victim: 'It gives his life meaning' »Play Video
A photo of Ronan from the Burgess family. The 5-year-old Eugene boy died from H1N1 complications in late december.

\EUGENE, Ore. -- It’s been nearly three weeks since 5-year-old Ronan Burgess lost his life due to complications from the H1N1 virus. His mother, Calandra, said their home is still filled with memories of her little cuddle bug.

"Everyday that I'm in this house, it kills me,” Calandra Burgess said, looking over at a collage of photos capturing Ronan’s smiling face. “I mean I see him in his big sister's bedroom, annoying her. And her doing his nails."

Ronan died in late December due to complications from the H1N1 virus. 

On Sunday, friends and family will be getting together to honor Ronan’s life. The wake will be held at Putters, one of Ronan’s favorite places to go.

Calandra told our reporters that Ronan received the nasal flu vaccine in November.

"All three of my children had the nasal spray. My other two kids didn't get sick at all," said Burgess.

Calandra hopes Ronan's death will help others learn about the flu vaccine.

“It gives his life meaning. And it gives his death meaning. That's the only way I can look at it,” Calandra said.

Jason Davis of Lane Public Health said Oregon has the lowest percentage of a vaccinated population in the nation.

"Oregon is the worst in the nation for vaccinations,” said Jason Davis of Lane Public Health. “In 2012, Lane County was 3rd worst in Oregon. Now we're sitting somewhere between 3rd and 6th. Those numbers sort of fluctuate."

Ronan received the nasal immunization, which proved ineffective. She said she is thankful that her other children were vaccinated and avoided the illness.

Dr. Patrick Luedtke of Lane Public Health said that occasionally the inoculations, be it a nasal spray or an injection, have the possibility of being ineffective.

"It's not perfect, but it is much better than not getting vaccinated," Dr. Luedtke. "Nowadays kids up to age 8 might need two doses."

Aside from getting the flu shot, Dr. Luedtke recommends people take preventative measures from spreading the virus. Covering a cough or sneeze, washing your hands thoroughly are two easy ways he says you can cut down on transmission.