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Higher Pediatric Mortality Marked 2009/2010 Flu Season

Last Updated: July 30, 2010.

Since April 2009, influenza activity in the United States has been characterized by much higher pediatric mortality and higher rates of hospitalization in children and young adults than seen in previous years, according a report published in the July 30 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

FRIDAY, July 30 (HealthDay News) -- Since April 2009, influenza activity in the United States has been characterized by much higher pediatric mortality and higher rates of hospitalization in children and young adults than seen in previous years, according a report published in the July 30 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The report summarizes the influenza activity in the United States during the 2009/2010 influenza season. According to the report, from April 2009 through June 12, 2010, the number of laboratory-confirmed positive influenza cases was approximately four times the average of the previous four seasons. Influenza activity reached a peak in October 2009 and was linked to higher pediatric mortality and higher rates of hospitalization in children and young adults compared to previous seasons.

The proportion of visits to health care providers for influenza-like illness was among the highest since surveillance in its current form began in 1997, as reported in the U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network. Three cases of human infection with novel H1N1 viruses were identified in addition to pandemic strain virus infections.

"Testing for seasonal influenza strains should continue, as should specimen submission to CDC for further antigenic analysis, vaccine strain selection, and antiviral resistance monitoring," the authors write.

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