Monday, 27 May, 2019

64 flu-related child deaths so far this season — CDC

CDC: 64 flu-related child deaths so far this season 21 States Report Highest Level of Flu Activity
Samantha Long | 15 March, 2019, 01:39

There have already been more than 26 million cases of the flu in the US since October 1, with more than 12.4 million flu-related medical visits and up to 31,200 deaths caused by the virus.

CDC officials estimate there have been somewhere around 20,000 to 30,000 flu-related deaths so far this winter.

Four of the eight deaths reported to the CDC during week nine were associated with an influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 virus, the predominate virus in most of the country this year, and occurred during weeks seven, eight and nine - the weeks ending February 16 and 23 and March 2, respectively.

The number of influenza-associated pediatric deaths for week nine was less than the 15 reported to the CDC the previous week, and the March 2 report also showed that the number of states reporting the flu to be widespread geographically dropped by one - Vermont - to 48 and the number of states experiencing high levels of outpatient visits for flu-like illnesses had also decreased by one to 32.

As many as 347,000 people have been hospitalized with the flu. All of them were people over the age of 50.

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The dominant influenza strain this season has been H1N1, but H3 viruses have been circulating in the Southeast. It's been a "double-barreled influenza outbreak this year", he said, with H1N1 seen throughout most of the country andtwo waves of H3N2 infections in the southeastern United States. But for the past two weeks, more illnesses have been tied to a more severe strain, H3N2, the CDC reports.

"H3N2, in general, produces more severe disease", he said.

This time a year ago, the death toll was 13.

Everyone 6 months or older should get vaccinated against the flu, the CDC advises.

Although the CDC continues to recommend getting a flu shot, Schaffner noted that it is "awfully late" in the season, because it takes 10 days to two weeks after getting the shot for your body to develop immunity. He also advises his patients to "remember to get it this fall in preparation for the next flu season". This can include complications such as pneumonia, which can require hospitalization-and sometimes results in death.

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