(Dec. 20, 2003) -- The Centers for Disease Control's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (ending Dec. 19) reports 42 flu-associated deaths since October among children under 18 years old, 55% of whom were under age five and 31% were between 6-23 months. Their median age was four years, ranging from 9 weeks to 17 years.
Seventeen (or 40%) of the children had an underlying chronic medical conditions.
Among children with underlying medical conditions, three had invasive bacterial co-infections, including one caused by MRSA, one caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, and one caused by Neisseria menigitidis.
Among children who did not have underlying medical conditions, five had invasive bacterial co-infections, including three caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), one by Streptococcus pneumoniae, and one by Group A streptococcus.
Regarding flu shots, CDC says it only had flu vaccination status for seven patients. Five (aged 1 year, 14 months, 20 months, 3 years, and 8 years) were not vaccinated. Two (aged 21 months and 5 years) received 1 dose of influenza vaccine although their previous vaccination history was unknown.
The CDC says its latest report "describes preliminary findings based on data provided from multiple states, as of December 17, 2003. To improve surveillance, CDC has requested that all influenza-associated deaths of children aged under 18 years be reported to CDC through state health departments."
Further details: CDC Weekly Mortality & Morbidity Report, Dec. 19.
For further information:
CDC flu update, week ending Dec. 13.
CDC Recommendations for Influenza Prevention