Flu deaths in children this season have risen to 171, tying a record for a non-pandemic year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
About 80% of the children who died were not vaccinated.
“These deaths are a somber reminder of the importance of flu vaccination and the potential seriousness of flu,” CDC officials said in an online post.
The Academy and CDC recommend everyone 6 months and older be vaccinated. CDC research found vaccination from 2010-’14 reduced the risk of death by about 65% for otherwise healthy children and 51% for those with an underlying medical condition. About half of the deaths this season occurred in children with such a condition.
Influenza A (H3N2) predominated just as in the 2012-’13 season with 171 pediatric deaths. Some deaths reports may be delayed, so the death toll still could rise. The 2017-’18 season also set a record for hospitalization rates among all ages.