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CDC: Flu activity rises for fourth straight week :

February 14, 2020

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The number of children who have died from flu this season rose to 92 following reports of 14 more deaths, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Flu activity also increased for the fourth consecutive week. About 6.8% of visits to outpatient clinics were for flu during the week ending Feb. 8, up from 6.6% the week before and well above rates in most recent seasons. Flu activity is high in 44 states and widespread in 48 states.

Children ages 4 and under have been hospitalized at a rate of 65.9 per 100,000 children, the second highest rate among all age groups. Hospitalization rates for children are higher than usual despite being average for the general population, according to the CDC. Nearly half of children who have been hospitalized have had an underlying medical condition, most commonly asthma.

Influenza B viruses have been the most common flu viruses among children and young adults this season and have accounted for about two-thirds of pediatric deaths.

Overall, health officials estimate that 26 million people have gotten sick, 250,000 have been hospitalized and 14,000 have died this season.

The CDC is reminding physicians to treat high-risk patients with antivirals promptly. It also recommends everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated.

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