Flu season: More 10 children killed, bringing them to 63 children

A man sneezing

A man sneezing

Last flu season, there were a total of 106 influenza-associated pediatric deaths nationally.

Hospitalizations are "significantly higher" than the devastating 2014/15 season and with several more weeks of flu season she said "more deaths are likely to happen".

"We wish there could have been better news this week", said Schuchat.

"As of this week, we have more hospitalizations than we have seen in any recent season including severe 2014-2015 season", Schuchat said.

Schuchat made the remarks during a media briefing this morning.

This year's flu season has now reached a level that we haven't seen since the 2009 swine flu pandemic, and we haven't yet reached the peak. CDC efforts to monitor and arrange supplies of the flu vaccine and antivirals were also discussed, according to the release.

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As flu diagnoses continue to increase across New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo has authorized counties to expand efforts that promote and increase access to flu vaccine and other prevention techniques.

U.S. researchers have not yet projected vaccine effectiveness for this season, but Canadian researchers estimate the vaccine is about 55% effective against influenza B, a vast improvement over the 17% effectiveness estimated for influenza A, a finding that wasn't even statistically significant. That method seems to have produced the genetic mismatch with the H3N2 strain.

But the viral strain causing the most illness this year, H3N2, is known to cause especially severe illness and to be hard to control with vaccination.

About half of the children who've had to be hospitalized had been healthy previously. People who develop flu-like symptoms should see a doctor right away.

The hospitalization rate for those 65 and older was 263.6 per 100,000 population; the previous week's rate was 226.8 per 100,000 population.

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.

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The flu epidemic remains widespread in almost all states, and experts say it could be a record-breaking season. The number of states reporting high flu activity rose by 1, from 42 to 43.

"We recognize that this issue is personal to so many families and that there is a lot of fear and alarm", Schuchat said.

"I don't know if we've hit peak yet", Schuchat said.

"This season is a wake-up call about how severe influenza can be and how we can never let our guard down", she said. "If you have asthma or other lung diseases, you are at higher risk of developing complications from the flu". Schuchat said those groups needn't wait for laboratory confirmation before being treated with an antiviral drug.

'What may be mild symptoms to you can be deadly for someone else, ' Dr Schuchat said.

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