Published: Fri, February 09, 2018
Health | By Jay Jacobs

CDC updates flu stats: at least 63 children have died

CDC updates flu stats: at least 63 children have died

One of the worst flu outbreaks in the United States in almost a decade worsened last week and will likely linger for several weeks, causing more deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday.

The number of people hospitalized for flu-like illnesses is the highest the CDC has seen since starting its current tracking system in 2010. In the last severe flu season, in 2014-2015, 148 children died.

The season is now in its 11th week, and Schuchat said flu is so hard to predict, it's not clear whether cases have yet reached their peak.

Most of Indiana's flu-related deaths this season have involved people age 65 and older, but almost 83 percent of the influenza-like illnesses reported this year to the state involve people age 24 and younger.

Doctors are reporting that some patients have been infected with H3N2, the primary A strain of the flu, along with a B strain.

"This season is a wake-up call about how severe influenza can be and how we can never let our guard down", she said.

In the meeting, Azar discussed how he has been able to oversee the HHS' flu-related actions since being confirmed secretary of the HHS. "We are waiting week to week to see what activity looks like". The strain is attributed to 86.4% of influenza hospitalizations from October 1, 2017 to February 3.

The U.S. flu season continues to be particularly severe, by one metric rivaling the 2009 swine flu pandemic, U.S. public health officials said Friday.

"That's a signal of how very intense this flu season has been", she noted.

Dr Fauci briefed attendees on the NIAID's research efforts to develop a more effective flu vaccine, including a universal candidate, while Dr Kadlec discussed private sector efforts in progress to produce a greater volume and pandemic flu vaccine that has greater efficacy, according to the release.

"So many states have high activity at the same time", Schuchat said, during the briefing.

And while deaths among children - now at 63 kids - and adults have not been extremely high, it is possible they could increase in line with hospitalization rates, she said.

In the most recent week data were available, 10% of deaths in the nation were from influenza and pneumonia.

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