Pediatric flu death toll highest since 2009 pandemic

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The CDC estimates flu has caused 32 million illnesses, 310,000 hospitalizations and 18,000 deaths this season, according to the agency's most recent FluView report.

Five things to know:

1. The percentage of respiratory specimens that tested positive for flu and the percentage of outpatient visits for flu-like illness are still elevated, but decreased for the second week in a row. 

2. The agency confirmed 20 additional pediatric flu deaths in the week ending Feb. 22., bringing the total to 125 for the 2019-20 flu season. This figure marks the highest pediatric death toll recorded since the CDC first started reporting flu data in 2004, excluding the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.

3. Forty-three states continued to experience high flu-like illness activity in the week ending Feb. 22. Five states experienced moderate activity, and Idaho experienced low activity. Florida reported minimal activity.

4. The overall flu hospitalization rate was 52.7 per 100,000 population for the week ending Feb. 22, up from 47.4 per 100,000 a week prior. The hospitalization rate for children ages 4 and under is now the highest on record for this point in the season, surpassing levels seen during the 2009 pandemic.

5. Flu activity was widespread in every state but Hawaii and Oregon for the week ending Feb. 22.

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