Two more children have died of flu this season, and nearly every state has high levels of respiratory illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The additional pediatric deaths bring the total to 14. Children under 5 years have the second highest hospitalization rate of any age group at 28.4 per 100,000 children.
Across all ages, the cumulative hospitalization rate is 16.6 per 100,000 people, which is higher than this time during every previous season since the 2010-’11 season.
The CDC estimates flu has caused at least 8.7 million illnesses, 78,000 hospitalizations and 4,500 deaths this season.
About 7.5% of outpatient visits were for a respiratory illness in the week ending Nov. 26 compared to 6% the week before and well above the baseline of 2.5%. Forty-seven of 55 jurisdictions have high or very levels of outpatient visits for respiratory illness.
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.
Most of the flu 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 CDC recommend everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated to protect them from flu. About 40% of children have been vaccinated this season, more than five percentage points lower than at the same time in 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