Flu outbreak has killed at least 63 children: CDC officials

Source WBRC Video

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.

In its briefing, the CDC also reported 10 new pediatric deaths attributed to influenza viruses, bringing the total reported to 63 this season.

Schuchat said the country is now in the eleventh week of the 2017-2018 flu season.

That's higher than last week, when the rate was 51 per every 100,000, and also higher than during the fifth week of the 2014-15 season, which recorded about 44 people hospitalized per 100,000.

CDC data show 48 of the 50 states reporting high influenza-like illness. Hawaii and OR are the only states reported as having lower levels of the virus.

"I wish there were better news this week, but nearly everything we're looking at is bad news", Schuchat said.

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Two other strains are on the rise, however, and they generally cause milder symptoms. Circulating flu strains this season are a mix of H3N2, H1N1 and B viruses.

"This season is a wake-up call about how severe influenza can be and how we can never let our guard down", she said. The strain is attributed to 86.4% of influenza hospitalizations from October 1, 2017 to February 3. She added that it's still not too late to get a flu shot.

Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec covered efforts, in collaboration with the private sector, to develop and procure pandemic flu vaccines in greater volume and with greater effectiveness.

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

"The flu is not just the sniffles and cough", Schuchat said.

Although the majority of flu-related deaths in IN have occurred in individuals age 65 and older, almost 83 percent of the influenza-like illnesses reported to ISDH this year involve individuals age 24 and younger, according to the ISDH. This rate is higher than the anticipated 7.3% pneumonia- or flu-related deaths estimated for the week. "We may be on track to break some recent records".

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