Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Declares Flu Epidemic With 15 Child Deaths

Fifteen children have died from complications of the flu this year, and that has brought the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to take action. The CDC has now officially declared a flu epidemic and are warning everyone to take all precautions and safety measures to make sure they get treated properly.

According to ABC News, the number of states that have reported high amounts of “influenza-like” illness activity is rising. In just the last week alone, that number has risen from 13 to 22, but every single region of the country has had outbreaks of the flu.

The particular strain of flu going around is one that can be fatal to many. Dr. Pritish Tosh, an infectious diseases physician with the Mayo Clinic, states that the 2014 flu strain can quickly become life-threatening in children.

“The virus can enter the blood stream and then the brain, creating severe respiratory symptoms including shortness of breath and a very high fever.”

Tosh states that even in healthy children, the body can work in ways to overcompensate against the flu and send white blood cells pouring into the lungs. That can cause the body to become overwhelmed and bring about a serious situation.

“If the body’s reaction to the virus is too vigorous, this can cause as much damage as the virus itself.”

At least six children have died in Tennessee this year from the flu epidemic, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state is under the category of widespread outbreak and 442 children have been seen with the flu just this month at the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.

The Washington Post states that the flu epidemic is something that comes every year with the flu season. It’s being said that it’s simply too early to know if this year’s epidemic is going to be very severe, but the 15 child deaths are causing much concern around the country.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been tracking this year’s flu strain with a number of different methods, and things are already looking bad.

“Right now, all of the CDC’s influenza surveillance systems are showing elevated activity.”

While experts are stating that this year’s flu epidemic is common and something that happens every year, others are saying different things. Trish Perl, the head of the John Hopkins Medicine Office of Epidemiology and Infection Prevention, thinks a bigger problem is around.

“The most concerning thing about the flu season this year there is a mismatch between the predominant strain that is circulating and what was put in the vaccine.”

Perl states that this year’s flu vaccines have a limited effectiveness against some antigenically different H3N2 viruses that are present in this year’s flu outbreak. This “drift,” as it’s called, could prevent people with vaccines from being immune to the flu strain going around.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still urges healthy people to get the vaccine and help stop the spread of the flu epidemic. While many may feel it to be a bother, the flu can turn very serious and as it’s shown this year, can kill people.

[Image via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]

Share this article: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Declares Flu Epidemic With 15 Child Deaths
More from Inquisitr