MMWR: Pediatric Flu Deaths Nearly Doubled Last Week

  1. The death of kids from flu are not estimates. These deaths are required to be reported to CDC.
    Reading this just makes me feel sick.

    Quote from
    Although we’ll get an update tomorrow in Friday’s FluView report, today’s release of the MMWR indicates that 35 new pediatric influenza deaths were reported in the United States last week.

    Nearly double of the week before (18).

    Some of those may be from previous weeks, as sometimes there is a bit of lag time in testing and reporting.

    But the 5-year weekly average for this time of year is Zero.
    More commentary at:
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    About indigo girl

    Joined: Mar '06; Posts: 5,910; Likes: 1,743
    visiting nurse; from US
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  3. by   indigo girl
    This week's update from CDC. The pediatric report is startling.
  4. by   indigo girl
    Transcript of the CDC briefing:

    They are only looking at cases from April to mid-October.

    Anne Shuchat, MD (RADM, USPHS)

    Assistant Surgeon General, United States Public Health Service (USPHS)
    Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD)

    Quote from children under 18, we estimate 8 million children have been ill with influenza, 36,000 hospitalized, and 540 children have died from this pandemic influenza.

    As of last Friday we reported 129 children had been reported with laboratory confirmed h1n1 influenza. Additional reports have come in about pediatric deaths from laboratory confirmed influenza where typing information wasn't available. We know that a number of the deaths that we're seeing are occurring outside the hospital where testing is not possible. We know that not every patient with influenza gets a diagnosis of flu. For instance, many people can have a bacterial pneumonia following a flu illness and may or may not be recognized as flu. We don't think anything has changed. We think our 540 number is a better estimate for the big picture out there. We think individual reports we're getting through the national pediatric death notification system are vitally important. That system gives us additional detail about underlying diseases that children have, about issues like the bacterial pneumonia problem. With that system we make sure our guidelines are right and on track. We do think for influenza it's virtually impossible to find every case with a lab test. So the estimation method we are using now we believe gives a bigger picture, a probably more accurate picture of the full scope of the pandemic.

    ...The death reporting in 2004 focused in on children with laboratory confirmed influenza infection. Looking at the same system, pediatric death reporting, not the estimation method, I’ve already seen a larger number of deaths than we've had for several years. I do believe that the pediatric death toll from this pandemic will be extensive and much greater than what we see with seasonal flu. It would be better to compare our 129 number with the previous years of around 40 to 88 or so deaths each year than to look in on that 540 number. There are many ways the toll on the seasonal flu. Often those are derived from models, retrospective data, we talk about the deaths, 96% of which occurred in seniors, those figures would be more comparable to what we're talking about here, from the estimation method, although those are described from a different approach than we're describing. If you think about, that only about 10% of the seasonal flu deaths occur in people under 65, that would be about 3600 deaths, we do think we are having a pretty severe amount of deaths so far from the h1n1 virus. The numbers I’m giving are through the first six months through October. We have had a lot of disease since then and we'll probably have a lot of disease going forward. Hope fully mitigated by vaccination effort.
    Last edit by indigo girl on Nov 17, '09