Medical

CDC updates flu stats: at least 63 children have died

CDC updates flu stats: at least 63 children have died

State health officials say the number of flu-related deaths in IN this season reached 167 last week, up from 136 the previous week. "We could still see several more weeks of increased activity".

In the meeting, Azar discussed how he has been able to oversee the HHS' flu-related actions since being confirmed secretary of the HHS.

Hospitalization for the flu is the highest its been since the CDC began tracking that information 10 years ago.

"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.

The flu is reported as widespread in 48 states and Puerto Rico.

What continues to be be notable about this season in particular is the cumulative hospitalization rate among older adults ages 50-64 (63.1 per 100,000 compared to 35.1 per 100,000 in 2014-2015, CDC researchers said) and the rate of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness. The H3N2 flu strain is infecting the most people, according to the CDC.




"I wish there were better news this week, but nearly everything we're looking at is bad news", Schuchat said.

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. This rate is higher than the anticipated 7.3% pneumonia- or flu-related deaths estimated for the week.

"We recognize that this issue is personal to so many families and that there is a lot of fear and alarm", Schuchat said. It's a particularly severe strain that isn't easily stopped by the current vaccine. Those groups include young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with heart or lung disease.

She urged sick people to stay home and said it is still not too late for people to get a flu vaccine, which offers some protection.

"There might be a second wave of influenza B infections", she said.

Schuchat said that while this year's virus "isn't new in terms of antigenic drift", virologists are studying it to see if there are "other explanations for the more severe disease we're seeing".