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CDC: Flu deaths among children surpass 100

February 10, 2023

Flu deaths among children have risen to 106 this season, and most of the children who died were unvaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The death toll is more than double last season when there were 45 deaths but fewer than the 199 in 2019-’20. The CDC said death report figures likely are an undercount.

Forty-one of the children who died were younger than 5 years, and three were younger than 6 months.

Among children with data available, 90% of those who died were not fully vaccinated, and 41% had a pre-existing medical condition that put them at risk of severe illness.

The AAP and CDC recommend everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated to protect them from flu, but rates have been lagging. This season, 51.8% of children have been vaccinated compared to 58.3% in January 2020, according to the CDC. About 44% of Black youths have been vaccinated this season compared to 52% of Hispanic youths, 52% of White youths and 56% of youths of other races/ethnicities.

After a spike in flu activity in late November, outpatient visits for respiratory illness have dropped to 2.6%, just above baseline, according to the CDC’s weekly flu report. Most regions are seeing minimal or low activity. However, outpatient visits for flu-like illness remain high or very high in New York City, New Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Across all ages, the cumulative hospitalization rate is 59.2 per 100,000 people, the second highest at this point in the season going back to 2010-’11. Children under 5 years have the second highest hospitalization rate of any age group this season at 78.6 per 100,000 children.

The CDC estimates flu has caused at least 25 million illnesses, 280,000 hospitalizations and 18,000 deaths this season.


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