Editor's note:For the latest flu coverage, visit https://www.aappublications.org/collection/influenza.
Ten more children have died of flu, and outpatient visits for the virus spiked for the third consecutive week, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
About 6.7% of visits to outpatient clinics were for flu during the week ending Feb. 1, up from 6% the week before and well above rates in most recent seasons. Flu activity is high in 45 states and widespread in 48 states.
In total, 78 children have died this season. About two-thirds of those deaths have been attributed to influenza B viruses, which are known to cause serious illness in children. These viruses have been predominant this season, although in recent weeks, influenza A (H1N1)pdm09 has been most common.
Children ages 4 and under have been hospitalized at a rate of 56.9 per 100,000 children, the second highest rate among all age groups. Hospitalization rates for the general population are average but are higher than usual for children, according to the CDC.
Health officials estimate that 210,000 have been hospitalized and 12,000 have died.
The CDC is reminding physicians to treat high-risk patients with antivirals promptly. It also recommends everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated.