CDC: Pediatric Flu Deaths Were High During Season

June 14th 2018
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh

The 2017-2018 flu season was severe, resulting in 172 pediatric deaths across the country. Approximately 80% of the deaths occurred in children that did not receive the influenza vaccine.

The 2017-2018 flu season was severe, resulting in 172 pediatric deaths across the country.1This number could potentially increase as reporting to the CDC can be delayed. Alarmingly, approximately 80% of the deaths occurred in children that did not receive the influenzavaccinethis season.1This further emphasizes the importance of an annual influenza vaccine as well as patient education. Studies have demonstrated that individuals who receive the influenza vaccine are less likely to die from flu complications.2

Pediatric Flu Deaths

Approximately half of the pediatric deaths occurred in children with a medical condition that placed them at high risk of developing seriousflu-related complications.1About 60% of these children died after hospital admission, and approximately 40% died at home or the emergency department. Additionally, most children died within 7 days of symptom onset. The influenza vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months and older, and children younger than 5 years (especially younger than 2 years) are at an increased risk of flu-related complications.1

Intranasal Flu Vaccine Recommendations for 2018-2019 Season

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended the option of using the intranasal live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV4) for the 2018-2019 flu season.3The LAIV4 was not recommended during the previous two flu seasons due to its lack of efficacy. The manufacturer claims that the LAIV4 FluMist has been reformulated, and the CDC will continue to monitor its efficacy in the upcoming flu season. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the inactivatedinfluenzavaccine as the primary choice for all children due to the lack of efficacy of the LAIV4 in previous flu seasons and unknown effectiveness for the upcoming season. The AAP recommends that the LAIV4 can be offered to children that would not otherwise receive a flu vaccine, which may be an option for vaccine hesitant families. Children younger than 2 years of age cannot receive the LAIV4.3

A full article appears onPharmacyTimes.com.

References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC reported flu deaths in children exceeds seasonal high.https://www.cdc.gov/flu/spotlights/reported-flu-children-deaths.htm. Accessed June 11, 2018.
  2. Shang M, Blanton L, Brammer L, et al. Influenza-associated pediatric deaths in the United States, 2010-2016.Pediatrics. 2018;141(4): doi:10.1542/peds.2017-2918.
  3. American Academy of Pediatrics. AAP influenza immunization recommendations revised for 2018-’19 season.http://www.aappublications.org/news/2018/06/07/influenza060718. Accessed June 11, 2018.

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