CDC: 13 children have died of flu so far

Nineteen states now have high levels of flu activity, according to the latest numbers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's more than double the number of states from the previous week.

Posted: Jan 5, 2019 5:17 AM
Updated: Jan 5, 2019 5:36 AM

If it seems like you know a lot of people who've come down with the flu lately, you're on to something.

Nineteen states now have high levels of flu activity, according to the latest numbers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's more than double the number of states from the previous week.

The number of children who died also increased. Two children's deaths related to the flu were reported in the week ending December 29, bringing the flu's death toll for children to 13 for this season, according to the CDC.

Crystal White Shield knows the toll flu can take.

She lost her 6-year-old daughter, Allison Eaglespeaker, to flu on December 1.

Allison, a kindergartner in Missoula, Montana, loved to dance and to hang out with her big brother, Matt, and her little sister, Daisy.

"She was a beautiful little girl," her mother said. "We were blessed with her life, and we miss her dearly."

Allison's mother wants other parents to be aware of how quickly flu can take a child's life. Her daughter died less than 48 hours after she first had symptoms of the flu.

"This illness hit her really hard and really fast," she said. "I didn't know I was going to lose my baby."

Dr. William Schaffner, who studies the flu, says that's not unusual; when flu kills a child, it often happens quickly.

He said it's not known why flu is a relatively mild illness for the vast majority of children and deadly to only a small percentage. Last year, flu killed 185 children, the highest number of pediatric flu deaths in a regular flu season, according to the CDC.

Allison had mild asthma, but about half the children who die from the flu were healthy before flu hit, according to the CDC.

This year's predominant strain, H1N1, also known as swine flu, tends to disproportionately affect children and adults under 50, said Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

He said that's because similar strains were circulating about 40 to 50 years ago.

"Older people may have been infected with cousins of H1N1 years ago, and that gives them residual protection," Schaffner said.

The H1N1 strain tends to cause milder illness than H3N2, the predominant strain during last year's particularly severe flu season, and vaccination tends to be more effective against H1N1 than H3N2.

Even though the flu season is underway, there are still potentially several months of the season left, and it's not too late to get a flu shot. The vaccine is recommended for everyone except infants under the age of 6 months.

Although the vaccine won't prevent all cases of the flu, it lessens the severity and duration of symptoms, and those who get flu after receiving a vaccine are less likely to require hospitalization and less likely to die.

Of the 185 children who died from the flu last year, 80% had not received a flu shot, according to the CDC.

Once someone gets the flu, antiviral drugs can lessen symptoms and hasten recovery, and reduce complications and hospitalizations. The drugs work best when started soon after someone gets sick.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 57779

Reported Deaths: 1670
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin18393825
Ramsey7130261
Dakota4112104
Anoka3456113
Stearns284720
Washington197843
Nobles17516
Olmsted164923
Scott143918
Mower10882
Rice10068
Blue Earth8655
Wright8275
Carver8052
Clay75840
Kandiyohi6811
Sherburne6677
St. Louis47519
Todd4212
Lyon4203
Freeborn3561
Steele3341
Nicollet32213
Benton3133
Watonwan3000
Winona25216
Crow Wing22114
Beltrami2070
Martin2045
Le Sueur2031
Chisago1841
Goodhue1838
Otter Tail1823
Cottonwood1730
Becker1481
McLeod1450
Pipestone1449
Polk1393
Douglas1360
Itasca13512
Waseca1330
Carlton1300
Pine1280
Dodge1250
Murray1221
Isanti1140
Unassigned10941
Chippewa1011
Brown852
Meeker852
Wabasha840
Faribault830
Morrison821
Sibley802
Rock750
Koochiching743
Pennington731
Jackson710
Mille Lacs693
Cass662
Fillmore610
Renville605
Lincoln540
Grant521
Swift521
Yellow Medicine500
Pope460
Roseau460
Houston400
Norman370
Redwood320
Wilkin313
Hubbard300
Kanabec301
Aitkin291
Marshall290
Mahnomen251
Wadena240
Big Stone220
Red Lake210
Lake180
Stevens160
Clearwater140
Traverse100
Lac qui Parle60
Kittson30
Cook20
Lake of the Woods10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 46704

Reported Deaths: 899
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk9874204
Woodbury367351
Black Hawk305462
Linn219887
Johnson200216
Dallas180735
Buena Vista179012
Scott163613
Dubuque159431
Marshall140725
Pottawattamie125724
Story112614
Wapello86633
Muscatine83948
Webster7637
Crawford7263
Sioux6072
Cerro Gordo58617
Tama54329
Warren5421
Jasper45825
Wright4511
Plymouth4488
Louisa37914
Dickinson3784
Clinton3383
Washington28810
Hamilton2431
Boone2342
Franklin2278
Bremer1967
Clarke1903
Emmet1852
Carroll1831
Shelby1761
Clay1741
Hardin1710
Marion1590
Allamakee1524
Poweshiek1518
Jackson1461
Benton1451
Des Moines1432
Mahaska13717
Floyd1322
Guthrie1285
Jones1262
Cedar1231
Buchanan1181
Butler1182
Hancock1172
Henry1143
Pocahontas1141
Lyon1080
Madison1072
Clayton1013
Cherokee991
Harrison990
Lee993
Delaware941
Humboldt941
Iowa941
Taylor940
Monona910
Winneshiek901
Mills850
Calhoun822
Kossuth820
Fayette810
Sac810
Palo Alto800
Mitchell780
Osceola780
Jefferson770
Page770
Grundy761
Winnebago760
Union741
Monroe707
Worth640
Lucas534
Chickasaw520
Davis511
Howard490
Cass481
Montgomery454
Appanoose433
Greene380
Fremont340
Van Buren341
Keokuk311
Ida290
Audubon281
Adair230
Decatur230
Ringgold211
Wayne191
Adams160
Unassigned40
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