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

Alicia Farmer
March 15, 2019

But experts also are monitoring an increase in illnesses from a kind of flu virus that tends to cause more hospitalizations and deaths, especially in the elderly.

Flu was reported to be widespread in 48 states last week, down from 49 the week before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday in its latest report on this winter's flu season. The season usually ends in May.

The good news is, while flu activity is assumed to remain elevated throughout the next month, the CDC believes that there's a 90 percent chance that the season has already peaked nationally.

This flu season has marked a return to more typical numbers after last year's widespread outbreak of the virus, which prompted the federal Centers for Disease Control to classify the virus as "high severity across all age groups" in the USA for the first time.

MA reported a decrease overall to more moderate though elevated levels of influenza-like illness activity during week nine as well other indicators that the state health department reported as elevated but that have also declined.

Flu activity remains high across the nation, and there's a second wave of severe infections striking some states.

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Sixty-four children have died from the flu or flu complications so far this season.

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.

But what's concerning is that more and more cases are involving a risky strain of the virus. H3N2 viruses account for about two-thirds of influenza A viruses tested this past week, according to the CDC.

Not only that, but while certain groups of people are always at a higher risk for getting the flu, like people 65 and older, young children and pregnant women, H3N2 can sometimes cause serious health problems in even healthy people.

One death was associated with an influenza B virus and occurred during week six.

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