US reports 2 pediatric flu deaths; hospitalization rate nearly double last season's

Two pediatric deaths associated with the flu have been reported, according to data from the CDC's most recent FluView report.

One death occurred the week ending Dec. 11, while the other occurred the week ending Dec. 18. Both deaths were associated with an influenza A virus.

The pediatric deaths are the first to occur during the 2021-22 flu season. The count has already surpassed last flu season, when one pediatric flu death was reported amid a lower than normal number of flu cases. 

Six other CDC updates:

1. The percentage of visits to an outpatient provider for illness was 3.1 percent for the week ending Dec. 18, up from 2.7 percent the previous week and above the national baseline of 2.5 percent. 

2. For the week ending Dec. 18, 1,265 lab-confirmed flu patients were hospitalized, up from the week prior. The cumulative hospitalization rate was 1.4 per 100,000 population as of Dec. 18, nearly double the overall cumulative hospitalization rate reported during the 2020-21 season.

3. Of all specimens tested in a clinical lab, 5.6 percent were positive for flu virus for the week ending Dec. 18, up from 3.5 percent the previous week.

4. Washington, D.C., reported very high flu activity for the week of Dec. 18, the highest level as categorized by the CDC. New Mexico reported high activity for the seventh consecutive week. Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, North Dakota, New Jersey and Tennessee also reported high flu activity. Fourteen states reported moderate flu activity for the week, while 12 states reported low activity. The remaining states reported minimal flu activity. 

5. Nationwide, 0.6 percent of long-term care facilities reported more than one flu-positive test among residents for the week, up from 0.5 the previous week.

6. The national flu, pneumonia and/or COVID-19 mortality rate is 18.8 percent, which sits above the epidemic threshold of 6.7 percent. Among the 3,913 deaths reported for the week, 3,009 had COVID-19 listed as an underlying or contributing cause of death on the death certificate.


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