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Number Of Children Killed By Massive Flu Outbreak Rises To 63

Number Of Children Killed By Massive Flu Outbreak Rises To 63

Flu-related hospitalizations rose to about 60 people out of every 100,000 in the fifth week of 2018, the CDC said Friday in its weekly surveillance report. Three of the people who died were 65 years or older. It also reported the highest rate of flu-like illnesses since the flu pandemic of 2009.

The severity of this strain of the flu is causing more people to be hospitalized or die because of the symptoms.

Another 10 children were reported to have died of the flu in the week ending February 3, bringing the total infant mortality so far this season to 63, Dr. Anne Schuchat, the CDC's acting director, told reporters. "Historically, seasons with high levels of H3N2 have been associated with more severe influenza illnesses with higher numbers of hospitalizations and deaths". People might need to call around to pharmacies to fill a prescription, said Schuchat.

Schuchat noted that while influenza A (H3N2) remains the predominant strain, influenza B viruses are comprising about 30% of viruses reported in this week's data.

It was unclear whether the outbreak had reached its peak yet or if it would get worse, she said. Only Hawaii and OR are seeing overall drops in infections.

Influenza-like illness activity is at 7.7 percent breaking the 2003/4 high of 7.6 for a non-pandemic year.

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"This is a severe flu season, and unfortunately there are no signs that it has peaked yet", said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, MD, FACOG. Past flu seasons have lasted as long as 20 weeks. The agency does not keep an exact count of adult flu deaths, but closely tracks child deaths.

"As flu diagnoses and hospitalizations continue to increase to epidemic proportions, this administration is doing everything in its power to protect New Yorkers from this especially durable strain of influenza", Governor Cuomo said. Information about the effectiveness of this year's seasonal flu vaccine, she said, will be released soon.

It's still "worthwhile" for unvaccinated people to get a flu shot Schuchat said.

Rachel Nicholls added an even more cut-throat method: "My mum used to tell a story of a doctor who said to the full waiting room - stand up if you've come here because you think you have the flu - right, you lot can go home!"

United States 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.

At least 53 children have died nationwide this season from flu-related illnesses.