Child flu deaths surpass 100 in the US

More than 100 American children have died of flu already this season, according to the latest federal data.

Since the first child died early on this season - a four-year-old in California, who died in September - the pediatric death toll has risen to 105 in the US. 

By comparison, last year there were no deaths during the week ending in January 11. 

Last week alone, 13 children died of flu. For comparison, not a single child died during the same week in 2019, 2018, or 2017. 

Influenza B has been unusually active this year compared to most and has accounted for 72 of this year's child deaths. 

More children have died this flu season than have in a a single season for the past year, with pediatric deaths this season already catching up to last year's full-seas on total (second from right)

More children have died this flu season than have in a a single season for the past year, with pediatric deaths this season already catching up to last year's full-seas on total (second from right) 

Officials estimate that since this flu season began, there have been at least 29 million cases of flu in the US, with 280,000 people hospitalized by the virus.  

In all likelihood, 16,000 people have already died of the flue, the CDC speculates. 

Encouragingly, the rates of visits to healthcare providers for flu-like symptoms and positive flu tests both fell last week compared to the previous one. 

But CDC officials warn that flu levels are still 'elevated' and 'it is too early to know whether the season has peaked or if flu activity will increase again.'  

Flu activity is widespread in just about every US state and the death rate is nearly double what it was last year, federal health officials say. 

Experts say this is further evidence that the 2019-20 flu season is on track to be one of the worst seasons in recent memory.

Last season, the flu caused between 37.4 million and 42.9 million illnesses and between 36,400 and 61,200 deaths, according to preliminary data from the CDC. 

But the 2019-20 flu season started earlier than the annual epidemic has begun in the last 10 years and is circulating quickly.

'Last year marked the longest flu season in a decade, and now we are seeing this year's flu season off to an alarmingly fast

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