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

Ebony Scott
February 10, 2018

A child died this week in Fremont County from a flu-related illness, the Wyoming Department of Health said Friday, bringing the state's likely influenza-related death toll for this season to at least 11.

The briefing included a number of HHS officials who are directly involved with flu preparedness and response, such as Acting CDC Director Anne Schuchat MD, National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci, MD, and Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, MD.

Among adults, the proportion of pneumonia- and influenza-related deaths climbed to 10.1% of all deaths reported during the week ending January 20 (these data are always two weeks delayed). The CDC considers the 2014-15 season "moderately severe" with high levels of illness, hospitalizations and deaths compared to previous seasons and has used it as a comparison to the current season.

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And, because data about hospitalizations tend to lag, experts expect those numbers will grow.

As of February 3, a total of 48 states continued to experience widespread flu activity, according to the CDC's latest surveillance report. Scientists are studying circulating viruses to see if anything unusual is going on, Schuchat said.

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The picture in MA is similarly bleak. OR and Hawaii, the exceptions, both recorded regional activity for the fifth week of the year. "Facilities that are experiencing high rates of flu should ensure that they are cleaning and disinfecting regularly and that ill individuals are isolated to help prevent additional cases of the flu".

Schuchat had a special message for clinicians about the importance of antiviral therapy, especially among those at risk of developing severe flu complications, or in young children, elderly adults, pregnant women, or those with preexisting conditions, such as heart or lung disease.

But at the same time, reports of Influenza B infections are on the upswing, according to the CDC.

While the H3N2 continues to dominate this season, there are increasing cases of B viruses and the H1N1 strains.

Influenza is a viral infection of the respiratory tract and is spread by droplets released when infected people cough or sneeze nearby or when people touch surfaces or objects contaminated with those infectious respiratory droplets. "We could see more weeks of increased flu activity".

Dowell, who was unavailable to comment Friday, said last month that the Northern Hemisphere normally takes it vaccine cues from Australia, where the flu typically appears first. "If it looks like flu, treat it", said Schuchat.

Other reports by GizPress

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