Child death toll from flu season rises to 13, as CDC reports ‘widespread influenza activity’ in 24 states
- Flu has killed 13 kids in the US so far this season, according to the CDC
- Widespread influenza activity is reported in 24 states, including New York
- Puerto Rico and 18 states reported regional influenza activity
20:56 GMT, 5 January 2019
22:36 GMT, 5 January 2019
The pediatric influenza death toll has risen to 13 for the year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC reports that two more children died of the flu in the week ending December 29, bringing the total for the season to 13. Ten female of the fatalities were female and three male.
By the same week last year, when the flu spiked into an epidemic, there had been 27 pediatric deaths.
Nevertheless, the CDC warns that ‘seasonal influenza activity continues to increase’ and advises immediate flu vaccination for anyone who has not yet had the shot.
This map show influenza-like illness (ILI) activities for the week ending December 29
‘An annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect against influenza and its potentially serious complications,’ the agency said in a statement.
‘Flu vaccination also has been shown to reduce severity of illness among people who get vaccinated but still get sick.
‘For anyone 6 months or older who has not yet been vaccinated this season, CDC recommends that they get vaccinated now.’
The agency said that in the week ending December 29, the number of states with ‘widespread geographic flu activity’ more than doubled to 24, from 11.
This chart shows the weekly number of pediatric deaths since the 2015-2016 flu season
The states with widespread activity are: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia.
The CDC said that H1N1 strains, also known as swine flu, have been the most commonly identified flu viruses nationally this season. However, H3N2 viruses have also been identified.
Adults have also fallen victim to the flu this season.
In late December, 26-year-old Bre Payton, a writer for The Federalist, died suddenly from H1N1 and meningitis in San Diego.
Payton was considered a rising star at the conservative publication, and made frequent appearances as a commentator on cable news.