June 4, 2021 – CDC reported 1 new seasonal flu-related death in a child that occurred during the 2019–2020 season last week, bringing the total number of flu deaths in kids reported to CDC for that season to 199. Prior to 2019-2020, the 2017-2018 season had the highest reported number of pediatric deaths, with 188 pediatric deaths reported. This tragic milestone underscores the importance of vaccinating children.
Among the 199 reported pediatric flu deaths:
- 44% (87) occurred in children younger than 5 years old
- 12 occurred in children younger than 6 months and thus too young to get a flu vaccine
- 56% (112) deaths occurred in children 5-17 years old
- Of the 183 pediatric deaths that occurred among children with known information on medical conditions, 78 (43%) had a pre-existing medical condition.
- Only 22 percent of children eligible for influenza vaccination and for whom vaccination status was known were fully vaccinated against flu. This is consistent with data from previous seasons.
Most of the reported deaths last season (122) were associated with influenza B virus infections. The 2019-2020 season was heavily influenza B virus predominant during most of the season, but there was a surge of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses that occurred later in the season, before the COVID-19 pandemic began and influenza virus circulation dropped quickly. While influenza A(H3N2) viruses are often associated with more severe illness in older people, last season is a reminder that influenza B viruses can also be associated with serious illness and death, especially in children. . . .
[ Full CDC Article ]