3 pediatric flu deaths reported as flu season continues to intensify: 5 things to know

The U.S. saw another week of influenza activity growing in severity from Dec. 17-23, with three pediatric flu deaths reported in that time frame, according to the CDC's most recent update on the 2017-18 flu season published Friday.

Here are five things to know.

1. The percentage of respiratory specimens that tested positive for influenza in clinical laboratories increased the week ending Dec. 23. The most frequently identified virus type in positive specimens continued to be influenza A, with 17,224 total positive tests for the season. Additionally, the CDC reported 3,899 total positive tests for influenza B for the current flu season.

2. The CDC reported three additional pediatric flu deaths during the week ending Dec. 23, increasing the total number of flu-related pediatric deaths to 12 for the current flu season. The agency tallied a total of 110 such deaths for last year's flu season.

3. The percentage of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness was 5.0 percent for the week ending Dec. 23, up from 3.5 percent the week prior. This figure sits above the national baseline of 2.2 percent and represents the largest single-week increase in reports of flu-related illness so far in the 2017-18 flu season.

4. The number of deaths related to pneumonia and influenza for the week remained below epidemic thresholds.

5. Thirty-six states reported widespread flu activity for the week ending Dec. 23, marking a 13-state increase from the week prior and the first week of the 2017-18 flu season during which most states reported widespread influenza. Puerto Rico and 13 states reported regional activity; Delaware reported local flu activity; and Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam did not give the CDC a report on flu activity for the week ending Dec. 23.

To view a map of the geographical spread of influenza in the U.S., click here.

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