As epidemic flu spreads across the United States, with 15 child deaths reported in nine states so far this year, federal health officials said on Tuesday they could not yet predict the severity of the current season.
Four of the children died during the week ending Dec. 20, when flu reached epidemic levels for children and adults, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.
Nine states have reported child deaths: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Texas and Virginia, the agency reported.
With flu season extending from the fall into the spring, the toll is likely to increase, said Joe Bresee, Epidemiology and Prevention Branch chief for the CDC’s influenza division.
“Flu is amazingly unpredictable,” Bresee said. “As flu becomes more common and more intense over the next few weeks, unfortunately those death numbers and hospitalization numbers will continue to rise.”
There were 109 child flu deaths in the last flu season, according to the CDC. Read more.