Hospitalization for H1N1 flu now highest among young
According to a CDC update, issued two days ago, hospitalizations for H1N1 flu are now highest among 0 to 4 year olds. Overall influenza rates are higher than normal for the time of year. Hospitalization for H1N1 flu is highest among younger patients for the week of November 1 to November 7.
Death rates related to H1N1 flu continue to increase, but visits to physician offices have declined. Since April, H1N1 has been confirmed as the cause of 156 laboratory-confirmed pediatric deaths.
Death rates from pneumonia also increased according to the weekly update from the CDC. Among 35 pediatric flu deaths, 26 were confirmed from H1N1 flu.
The CDC also reports increased H1N1 flu activity in 46 states – a decline from 48 states in the preceding week. According to the CDC, "This many reports of widespread activity at this time of year are unprecedented during seasonal flu."
All of the flu activity reported is related to H1N1 flu that continues to be susceptible to oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza), “with rare exception”.
High risk groups for H1N1 complications include children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old, adults 65 years of age and older and pregnant women.
Medical conditions that can increase risk of H1N1 flu complications include:
- decreased immunity
- heart disease
- liver and kidney dysfunction
- chronic lung disease
- endocrine, blood, and certain metabolic disorders
- neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders
- long-term aspirin therapy among individuals less than 19 years of age
The CDC update on H1N1 flu is considered preliminary and could change. The CDC says they are continuing to provide guidance and surveillance of H1N1 flu activity, including replenishing antiviral drugs and personal protective gear sent in April to all US states and territories. Each week the CDC issues and update on H1N1 flu activity. For the week of November 1 to 7, hospitalization rates for H1N1 flu were highest among 0 to 4 year olds. High risk groups for H1N1 flu complications are encouraged to take H1N1 flu vaccine as it becomes available.