A Record-Breaking Number of Kids Died During This Year's Flu Season
This year’s flu season has killed more children than in any non-pandemic year on record, according to new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data.
A total of 172 pediatric deaths have now been reported in connection with the 2017-2018 flu season, including two that occurred as recently as mid- to late-May, according to the CDC. That number edges out the 171 deaths seen in 2012-2013, and surpasses the number of deaths recorded in all but pandemic years, which involve a global outbreak of a new influenza virus, to which most people are not immune.
“We saw just an overwhelming amount of flu in general this season. It was a very long season, with high levels of activity occurring over a prolonged period of time,” said Alicia Bird, an epidemiologist in the CDC’s influenza division. “That’s the main reason that we saw a higher number of deaths than we typically see: There’s more chances for children to be exposed to flu, basically.”
What’s more, the tally is likely to continue climbing, Bird said. “We’re at 172 now, but we do expect that number to increase because the system is one that requires some investigation for these cases,” Bird said. “We do sometimes get lagged reporting as well.”