Editor's note:For the latest flu coverage, visit https://www.aappublications.org/collection/influenza.
Five more children have died of flu, and the virus continues to be widespread in 33 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The additional pediatric deaths bring the total to 82 during what’s shaping up to be an unusually long season.
About 3.2% of outpatient clinic visits were for flu during the week ending March 30, down from 3.8% the week before but still well above the baseline of 2.2%, according to CDC data. Flu activity has been above baseline for 19 weeks, while the average for the past five seasons was 16 weeks.
The CDC estimates as many as 38.1 million people have gotten sick, 549,000 have been hospitalized and 50,900 have died this season. Health officials recently issued a health advisory urging clinicians to continue to be vigilant and provide early antiviral treatment for high-risk patients suspected to have the flu.
While H1N1 viruses have been predominant for much of 2018-’19, H3N2 viruses have surged in recent weeks, contributing to the long season.
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, the AAP recently announced that it will not have a preference between the two vaccines next season.