More than 100 Children Lost to Flu – A Heartbreaking Season

Flu Death

The 2023-2024 flu season has brought with it a somber milestone: more than 100 children have lost their lives due to influenza. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that 103 pediatric deaths have occurred so far, underscoring the urgency of addressing this preventable tragedy.

The heartbreaking tally stands at 103. These young lives were cut short by a virus that we have the means to combat.

Children Under 5 Years Old: Among the reported deaths, 38 occurred in children younger than 5 years old. These little ones are particularly vulnerable to serious flu complications due to their age.

Infants Under 6 Months: Tragically, 5 of the deaths were in infants younger than 6 months. These tiny souls are too young to receive a flu vaccine but are at the highest risk of hospitalization.

Children 5 to 17 Years Old: 65 deaths occurred in this age group.

Of the 98 pediatric deaths with known medical information, 46 had pre-existing conditions that put them at higher risk. Shockingly, more than half of the flu-related deaths this season were in otherwise healthy children.

Among the 98 eligible children, vaccination status was known for 89. An alarming 88% of these children were not fully vaccinated against the flu. In previous seasons, approximately 80% of children who died from the flu were also unvaccinated.

The deaths were associated with both influenza A and influenza B viruses. Influenza B accounted for 47 pediatric deaths this season.

Vaccination remains crucial. Interim estimates show that this season’s flu vaccine reduced the risk of flu-related medical visits by about two-thirds and flu-related hospitalizations by about half for vaccinated children. Against the predominant influenza A (H1N1) virus, vaccination reduced hospitalizations by 60%. For influenza B, the effectiveness was even higher, reducing the risk of doctor visits by 64% to 89%.

The loss of these young lives is a stark reminder of the importance of vaccinating children against the flu. As flu activity continues, parents and caregivers must take action:

  • Get Vaccinated: If flu viruses are still circulating, there’s still a benefit to vaccinating your child this season.
  • Protect the Vulnerable: Ensure that infants and young children receive the protection they need.
  • Stay Informed: Monitor flu activity and heed public health recommendations.

Let us honor these children’s memories by preventing further tragedies. Together, we can safeguard our little ones and ensure a healthier future for all.

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