CDC: Influenza cases have reached ‘epidemic’ levels

January 2, 2015

According to the most recent update from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 15 children in the United States have died thus far this flu season as influenza has reached epidemic levels.

According to the most recent update from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 15 children in the United States have died thus far this flu season as influenza has reached epidemic levels.

During the week of December 14-20, CDC officials said 6.8% of deaths nationwide were attributable to pneumonia and influenza. CDC reported 837 flu and pneumonia deaths during the aforementioned week.

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Additionally, the hospitalization rate for people 65 years and older was 38.3 per 100,000 people-35% higher than the rate for the same week in the 2012-2013 flu season.

"It's concerning because we are talking about the flu, which is a vaccine preventable disease, so any death of a child due to flu is concerning," Michael Jhung, medical officer for the CDC, toldUSA Today. "But it is not unexpected. We unfortunately hear about flu deaths every year."

Deaths of children have occurred in Arizona (1), Colorado (1), Florida (2), Minnesota (2), North Carolina (2), Nevada (1), Ohio (2), Texas (3), and Virginia (1).

According to the CDC, cities in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin reported 151 deaths; 147 deaths were linked to California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii. Overall, flu activity was considered widespread in 36 states.

The most common flu viruses this season have been influenza A viruses-5,987 confirmed cases of 6,157 reported to the CDC. There were 165 confirmed influenza B virus cases.

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