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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: 122812

Reported Deaths: 2287
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin32050965
Ramsey13185346
Dakota9146133
Anoka7955148
Stearns525534
Washington517267
Scott315634
Olmsted305029
St. Louis258563
Wright224714
Nobles211716
Clay200843
Blue Earth19587
Carver16867
Rice15629
Sherburne153221
Kandiyohi15194
Mower148912
Winona116718
Lyon9146
Waseca9089
Crow Wing86821
Chisago8312
Benton8265
Beltrami7537
Otter Tail7206
Steele7162
Todd6922
Itasca67117
Nicollet66417
Freeborn6314
Douglas5923
Martin58416
Le Sueur5825
Morrison5776
McLeod5663
Watonwan5634
Pine5040
Goodhue49711
Polk4894
Becker4833
Isanti4803
Chippewa3733
Carlton3721
Dodge3600
Mille Lacs3467
Pipestone32416
Wabasha3200
Cass3045
Meeker3043
Hubbard3012
Brown2903
Rock2861
Yellow Medicine2655
Cottonwood2610
Redwood24810
Murray2443
Fillmore2350
Sibley2353
Renville22511
Unassigned22053
Faribault2080
Swift1911
Jackson1891
Roseau1890
Kanabec18710
Houston1801
Wadena1790
Lincoln1640
Stevens1631
Pennington1621
Koochiching1604
Aitkin1511
Pope1420
Big Stone1270
Lac qui Parle1222
Wilkin1224
Lake1000
Norman930
Mahnomen911
Grant864
Marshall861
Clearwater740
Red Lake562
Traverse490
Lake of the Woods401
Kittson270
Cook110

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 106765

Reported Deaths: 1522
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk17906281
Woodbury678786
Johnson562330
Black Hawk517196
Linn5020123
Dubuque463852
Scott402433
Story383217
Dallas328843
Pottawattamie294044
Sioux228211
Buena Vista219512
Marshall192236
Webster166414
Plymouth153324
Wapello147062
Clinton134625
Muscatine132357
Crawford130312
Cerro Gordo122223
Des Moines12099
Warren11436
Carroll10238
Jasper101934
Henry9735
Marion92010
Tama89336
Lee8689
Dickinson6837
Wright6791
Delaware6728
Boone6718
Bremer6117
Washington60611
Mahaska60122
Harrison5628
Jackson5253
Lyon5117
Benton4971
Louisa49015
Clay4814
Hamilton4313
Winneshiek4299
Poweshiek42811
Hardin4215
Winnebago41916
Kossuth4150
Floyd41211
Jones4053
Emmet39314
Buchanan3893
Cedar3795
Iowa3756
Franklin36918
Guthrie36414
Cherokee3622
Sac3603
Clayton3503
Page3450
Shelby3411
Butler3402
Fayette3372
Madison3372
Mills3341
Allamakee3248
Chickasaw3191
Clarke3083
Cass3022
Palo Alto2831
Grundy2794
Humboldt2793
Hancock2724
Calhoun2573
Howard2458
Osceola2450
Monroe23711
Mitchell2270
Monona2261
Taylor2202
Union2083
Pocahontas2032
Appanoose1983
Jefferson1881
Lucas1796
Fremont1781
Ida1762
Greene1710
Van Buren1562
Davis1544
Montgomery1525
Keokuk1361
Audubon1281
Worth1260
Adair1231
Decatur1220
Wayne1113
Ringgold802
Adams670
Unassigned250
Rochester
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