Editor's note:For the latest flu coverage, visit https://www.aappublications.org/collection/influenza.
Flu activity decreased slightly last week but is higher than usual for this time of year, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
About 4.5% of outpatient clinic visits were for flu during the week ending March 9 compared to 4.7% the week before. The virus was widespread in 46 states. Over the past decade, flu activity has never been above 4% in week 10, and in some years, it dipped below 2%.
While activity is declining, pediatric deaths continued to rise. Four more were reported last week, bringing the total to 68. Across all ages, the CDC estimates up to 35,500 people have died.
As many as 394,000 people have been hospitalized this season, a rate of about 41.3 per 100,000 people. Children ages 4 years and younger have the second highest hospitalization rate, 54.8 per 100,000.
H1N1 viruses have been predominant for most of the season, but for the last few weeks they have been surpassed by H3N2 viruses.
The CDC and the Academy recommend everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated against the flu. Flu vaccine is 61% effective against medically attended influenza for children and 47% for the overall population, according to interim data from the CDC.
This season, inactivated influenza vaccine has been the primary vaccine choice, while quadrivalent live attenuated influenza vaccine may be used for children who would not otherwise receive a vaccine, according to AAP policy. However, theAAP recently announcednext season it will not have a preference between the two vaccines.