Editor's note:For the latest flu coverage, visit https://www.aappublications.org/collection/influenza.
Seven more children have died of flu amid warnings about severe illness from circulating influenza B viruses.
In total, 39 children have died this season, of which 72% have been linked to influenza B, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Influenza B/Victoria has been the most common virus seen in children this season as well as in the overall population, although in recent weeks influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 rates have been similar.
About 4.7% of outpatient clinic visits were for flu during the week ending Jan. 11, down from 5.7% the week before and 7% in late December. Still, CDC officials could not say if the season has hit its peak.
Flu activity is high in 32 states, New York City and Puerto Rico and widespread in 48 states and Puerto Rico. People have been hospitalized at a rate of 19.9 per 100,000 people, which the CDC said is typical for this time of year. Children ages 4 and younger have the second highest rate at 34.4 per 100,000 children.
Overall, the CDC estimates about 13 million people have gotten sick, 120,000 have been hospitalized and 6,600 have died.
Health officials are reminding physicians to treat high-risk patients with antivirals promptly. They also recommend everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated.
“Flu vaccine effectiveness estimates are not available yet this season, but vaccination is always the best way to prevent flu and its potentially serious complications,” the CDC said.