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CDC Declares Flu Epidemic After Virus Kills 15 Children

The Short of It

The seasonal flu of 2014-2015 may be the worst yet. Just this week, the Centers for Disease Control declared that the virus has reached epidemic levels. This announcement comes on the heels of the grim news that 15 children have died from influenza; and it's only December.

The Lowdown

Heartbreakingly, about 100 kids die from influenza each year. So, we aren't necessarily seeing a higher rate of fatalities from the virus, but the fact that it has peaked this early in the season worries experts.

Also troubling is how many influenza cases doctors and hospitals are treating, not just regionally, but all across the country. Twenty-two states report seeing high levels of flu-like illnesses, which is up from 13 states just last week.

The most widespread strain, and the one responsible for the most severe symptoms and deaths, is H3N2, which as previously reported, doesn't seem to be a good match for this year's flu vaccine.

Still, the CDC urges people to get vaccinated, especially those in high-risk groups, such as seniors, children, pregnant women and anyone who has a compromised immune system. The immunization may still offer some protection against H3N2 by minimizing its severity.

The Upshot

The CDC has said it doesn't think the epidemic level of this year's flu means the illness is any more deadly than in past seasons. Still, this is scary news!

My kids have been struck down by a flu-like illness since Christmas. I also know several families affected.

Everywhere you go, people are sick. Is holing up in the house with the kids—at least until March—an overreaction? Ugh, at the moment, it sure doesn't seem like it!

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