Number of flu cases increasing, despite vaccines

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Since the 2004-2005 season, flu-related deaths in children reported to CDC during regular flu seasons ranged from 37 (during 2011-2012) to 171 (during 2012-2013).

As most parents know, the CDC recommends yearly flu vaccines to everyone 6 months or older, but as this study proves, an alarming number of kids aren't getting their shots. All had been diagnosed with the flu before their deaths or were diagnosed during autopsy, Flannery said. Some of the most serious flu-related complications for anyone but especially children are pneumonia, sepsis, inflammation of the heart called myocarditis, and dehydration that can lead to kidney failure. It is found that around three-quarters of the U.S. kids died between 2010 and 2014 because they were left unvaccinated. Between 4,000 and 50,000 people die from flu each year, depending on the strains of virus that are circulating.

Flu season may be winding down, but as it does, there's a good lesson for next fall.

"The current vaccine is not ideal", the publication quoted Dr. John Treanor of the University of Rochester Medical Center as saying. In the previous week's report, 36 states reported widespread flu activity while the most recent surveillance shows only 31 states experiencing flu activity this week.

It's the first study of its kind to show flu vaccination "significantly reduces" children's risk of dying from the flu, the CDC notes. Individuals should discuss the flu vaccine a health care provider. The most promising avenues for a "one-time" flu vaccine are based around using a highly-conserved viral protein that is found in all circulating flu viruses, and not relying on the rapidly-changing components that create the year-to-year differences. "Kids like it a lot better than getting shots", Treanor said.

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Of 358 children who died when they caught influenza between 2010 and 2014, the majority had not received a flu vaccine, researchers said.

The flu vaccine saves children's lives. In the survey cohorts, the average vaccination coverage was 48%.

"Those children are more likely to have severe influenza if they do get sick and more likely to die", said Epidemiologist Dr. Brendan Flannery.

"Influenza vaccination was associated with reduced risk of laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated pediatric death", the authors concluded.

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