The number of children who have died from flu this season rose to seven after two more deaths were reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The cumulative hospitalization rate is 8.1 per 100,000 people, which is higher than this time during every previous season since the 2010-’11 season. Children under 5 years have the second highest hospitalization rate of any age group at 13.6 per 100,000 children.
About 5.8% of outpatient visits were for a respiratory illness in the week ending Nov. 12 compared to 5.5% the week before. Last year at this time, the rate of outpatient visits for respiratory illness was below 2.5%.
Across all ages, the CDC estimates flu has caused at least 4.4 million illnesses, 38,000 hospitalizations and 2,100 deaths.
Flu activity is very high or high in 27 states plus Washington, D.C., New York City and Puerto Rico, with the highest levels largely in southern and eastern states. Most of the viruses detected so far this season have been influenza A(H3N2). Most viruses tested are similar to those in this season’s vaccine.
The AAP and Children’s Hospital Association have asked federal officials to declare a public health emergency as pediatricians’ offices and hospitals are inundated with children seeking care for respiratory viruses on top of continuing mental health concerns and workforce shortages. The AAP also recently updated its interim guidance for handling a surge in patient volume.
The AAP and CDC recommend everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated to protect them from flu. About 35.4% of children have been vaccinated this season, nearly five percentage points lower than November 2020.
- CDC webinar “2022-2023 Seasonal Influenza Testing and Treatment During the COVID-19 Pandemic”
- AAP policy Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2022-2023
- AAP technical report Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2022-2023
- AAP webpage on preventing flu in early education and child care settings
- Information on flu from the CDC
- CDC FAQs about the 2022-’23 flu season
- AAP flu toolkit
- Information for parents on flu vaccine from HealthyChildren.org
- Information on flu from the AAP Red Book
- Flu vaccine locations near you