More than 100 children have died of the flu this season, according to recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates.
So far during the 2019-2020 flu season, some 105 children have died, the CDC said in its most recent Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report. The majority of the deaths — 72 — were “associated with influenza B virus,” a strain of the flu that emerged early this flu season and has largely affected children. The other 33 deaths were associated with influenza A viruses.
To date, there have been at least 29 million flu illnesses in the U.S. this season, with some 16,000 deaths and 280,000 hospitalizations.
“Overall, hospitalization rates remain similar to this time during recent seasons, but rates among children and young adults are higher at this time than in recent seasons,” the CDC said in the report.
A number of pediatric flu deaths have been reported in recent weeks, including the first in Maine in a child younger than 5 years old. A 7-year-old Pennsylvania boy also recently died from the flu. Matthew Wzorek — nicknamed “Smiley” for his infectious grin — was a second-grader at Worrall Elementary School in Broomall, Pa.
Separately, the flu is considered widespread in 47 states and Puerto Rico. “Regional activity” was reported in Hawaii, Idaho, and Oregon, while “local activity” was reported in the District of Columbia.