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CDC: Sixth flu-related pediatric death reported; overall numbers remain low

February 25, 2022

Another influenza-associated child death has been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bringing the total to six flu-related pediatric deaths this season.

The death was reported during the week ending Feb. 19 (week 7), according to Flu View, the CDC’s weekly surveillance report. It was associated with an influenza A virus for which no subtyping was performed.

The majority of influenza viruses detected are A(H3N2), which are closely related genetically to the vaccine virus. The CDC estimates there have been at least 2.4 million flu illnesses this season, with 23,000 hospitalizations and 1,400 deaths.

During week 7, clinical laboratories nationwide tested 43,078 specimens, and 4.2% were positive for influenza. Influenza A accounts for 98% of positive specimen types, while influenza B accounts for the remaining 2%. Public health laboratories tested 18,582 specimens, and about 2% were positive for influenza.

Outpatient visits due to respiratory illness remained stable nationally compared to last week and are below baseline. The number of hospital admissions reported to HHS Protect has increased for the past three weeks, with 1,420 patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza being admitted to the hospital during week 7.

Overall, the cumulative hospitalization rate of 4.9 per 100,000 population in the Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network is higher than the hospitalization rate observed in week 7 of the 2020-’21 season (0.6 per 100,000), but lower than the rate seen at this time during the four seasons preceding the COVID-19 pandemic (ranging from 27.4 to 74.5 per 100,000).

The AAP and CDC recommend everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated each year. Physicians with high-risk patients who have contracted the virus should treat them promptly with antivirals.

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