Child Death Toll from Flu Reaches 97, Cases Declining But Not Too Late for Vaccination

A nurse administers a flu shot, manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur, at Perry Memorial Hospital in Princeton, Illinois, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. Senate in both political parties say they've reached agreement on fixes to stabilize Obamacare just two weeks before Americans start signing up for 2018 coverage. Photographer: Daniel …
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The death toll for children who have died from various strains of the flu this season has reached 97, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — with 13 deaths happening in the last reporting week ending January 17.

This number is still below the 148 children who died from influenza in the 2014-2015 season.

And while the number of cases of flu diagnoses fell, this season might not end completely until mid-April, a CDC spokesman said, according to the Daily Mail.

The virus is still elevated and widespread in most of the states, territories, and the District of Columbia. Only the U.S. Virgin Islands reported no cases.

Some 21,279 laboratory-confirmed, influenza-associated hospitalizations were reported between October 1, 2017, and February 17, 2018, according to the CDC.

The four most prevalent flu strains include the H3N2, or the “Aussie flu” because of its spread last winter in Australia; the HINI, or “swine flu”; the “B/Yamagata,” or Japanese flu; and the “B/Victoria” flu.

The Daily Mail reported:

Last week, there were half as many new cases of H3N2 as the week before, but the strain’s decline is “basically mirroring the increase in influenza B,” says CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund.

B viruses are equally as dangerous as the A strain, causing the same symptoms that can lead to deadly complications, including pneumonia and sepsis.

So far, 29 children’s deaths have been traced to the rising B strains, which is “still about a third of the deaths, so [B] can also be troublesome for children,” Nordlund says.

The Mail also included profiles and photos of some of those who have died from the flu this season, ranging from a 4-year-old boy with an underlying health condition to healthy and fit adults.

Despite the declines in the CDC’s latest data and reports that this year’s vaccine is only about 36 percent effective in preventing the flu, U.S. health officials are still urging people to get one.

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