Wisconsin health officials confirm first pediatric flu-related death of the season

Wisconsin health officials confirm first pediatric flu-related death of the season

Massachusetts, like the rest of the United States, is also seeing more of Influenza B, a strain of the virus that is traditionally thought of as causing a milder form of the flu.

Health officials say the best way to protect yourself is to get your flu shot, and it's not too late.

Flu is a contagious respiratory disease, claiming the lives of 34,200 people past year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The spike in the number of the cases is being said to be close to the deadly year that 2017-18 was.

The CDC released a report on Friday saying that a rare strain of influenza is particularly severe among children this flu season.

Nationwide, almost 10 million cases were reported with 4800 deaths, including 32 children, the most since the CDC started tracking child deaths in 2004.

"We're seeing a lot of influenza this year, much more than in years past", said Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein.

"Typically we see more cases of type A viruses, but this season we are seeing more cases of type B viruses", Richards noted.

"We have not hit our peak", Burstein said.

Spear adds if there are any large numbers of students who do end up finding themselves with the flu, they'll usually send out a letter to parents just to let them know how many and what they can do to further help prevent the flu from going around.

That includes more frequent hand washing and getting the flu shot vaccine. The agency now recommends that some children aged 6 months to 8 years receive two doses of the vaccine, spaced at least four weeks apart.

Seniors, pregnant women and children under age 2 are considered at high risk for the flu, according to health experts.

Yet the CDC estimates that 9.7 million people have contracted the flu this season, including approximately 4,800 deaths and 87,000 hospitalizations.

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