Suamico’s Ava Rae Schmidt dies of flu; Wisconsin’s 2nd pediatric death

As flu cases continue to rise, state health officials confirmed Friday that a second Wisconsin child has died of influenza.

Citing privacy concerns, the state Department of Health Services declined to provide details on the death, including the child’s age, gender, location and flu vaccination status.

But an obituary and GoFundMe page identified the child as Ava Rae Schmidt, 14, of Suamico, who died Wednesday “after a very short fight with Influenza A and Strep B.”

Schmidt became sick over the weekend and went into sepsis by Monday evening, according to Facebook posts from her mother, Katerina Schmidt. On the way to a Green Bay hospital, her daughter became unresponsive, so the mom performed CPR. Schmidt was eventually transferred to Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee.

Schmidt was a straight-A student in her freshman year at Bay Port High School who had just received a 99% on a recent exam and told her dad she could have gotten 100%, according to her obituary and the GoFundMe page created by her godmother, Kerry Reis.

Ava Schmidt died Wednesday from influenza, marking the state's second pediatric death this flu season. Schmidt loved animals, including her dog, Finley.

Schmidt loved shopping, painting, animals and was “always ready for the next babysitting job.” She danced at a Green Bay dance company and recently told her mom she couldn’t see an upcoming solo performance because she wanted it to be a surprise.

“She was so thoughtful and was always looking for ways to show you she loved you. Whether it was a Starbucks drink, an order of cheese curds or just a hug she wanted to find a way to put a smile on your face,” Reis wrote on the GoFundMe page. “She was a planner and had everything from her sixteenth birthday to her wedding day planned.”

The state health department earlier this week announced the influenza-related death of a child in western Wisconsin the first pediatric influenza death this season. That child showed no evidence of receiving a flu shot earlier this year, officials said.

Nationally, 47 children have died from complications related to the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Wisconsin typically sees three to four pediatric flu deaths a year, said Tom Haupt, the health department’s influenza surveillance coordinator. Flu rates in the past few years, however, have been lower because so many more people took precautions during the pandemic, such as wearing masks and washing their hands, that also helped prevent catching the flu.

Health officials have warned that flu cases are spiking earlier than in previous seasons and urge everyone who is 6 months or older to get vaccinated. State data show only 1 in 3 Wisconsinites had gotten their annual flu shot as of Friday, which is lower than in past years.

Find where to get a flu shot by visiting, or calling 211 or 877-947-2211.