The first pediatric influenza-associated death for the 2020-’21 season has been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to Flu View, the CDC’s weekly surveillance report. The death, attributed to the influenza B virus with no lineage determined, occurred during week 48 (ending Nov. 28).
Seasonal influenza activity remains lower than usual for this time of year. Nationwide in week 49, 1.6% of visits to a health care provider (all ages) were for influenza-like illness (ILI), which is below the national baseline of 2.6%, according to the U.S. Outpatient ILI Surveillance Network.
In the 2019-’20 influenza season, a record number of children died of flu. By week 49 of last season, six pediatric deaths had been reported.
As both flu and COVID-19 circulate this season, the AAP recommends that everyone 6 months and older without medical contraindications receive influenza vaccine.
Pediatric influenza-associated deaths are a nationally notifiable condition for people younger than 18 years and monitored through the CDC Influenza-associated Pediatric Mortality Surveillance System. Deaths attributed to influenza must be confirmed by laboratory test.