An additional pediatric flu-related death has been reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bringing the total to 25 this season.
About 6.4% of clinical lab specimens were positive for influenza during the week ending May 21 (week 17), which is down from 7% the previous week. Outpatient medical visits for respiratory illness were at 2.4%, which is below baseline. Seasonal influenza viruses continue to circulate, and activity is increasing in parts of the country, according to the CDC.
The overall cumulative hospitalization rate is 15.5 per 100,000, and the overall weekly hospitalization rate was 0.6 per 100,000 population. The hospitalization rate during week 17 was the highest weekly rate observed this season and the highest rate observed during that week since the 2010-’11 season. While the cumulative hospitalization rate for the 2021-’22 season is lower than the end of season rates observed during the four seasons preceding the COVID-19 pandemic, recent rates may be underestimated due to reporting delays.
The CDC estimates that there have been at least 7.3 million flu illnesses, 74,000 hospitalizations and 4,500 deaths from flu this season.
The AAP and CDC recommend everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated. Flu vaccines have not been highly effective in preventing infections this season but still may protect against severe illness.
The AAP said it would keep its flu recommendations the same next season with no preference for any product.
- AAP policy Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2021-2022
- AAP technical report Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2021-2022
- Information on flu from the CDC
- CDC FAQs about the 2021-’22 flu season
- Information for parents on flu vaccine from HealthyChildren.org
- Information on flu from the AAP Red Book
- Flu vaccine locations near you