CDC: 64 flu-related child deaths so far this season

CDC says there is a 90 percent chance flu season has peaked nationally but indicators remain elevated with flu geographically widespread and visits to outpatient providers for flu-like illnesses above national baseline

But for the past two weeks, more illnesses have been tied to a more severe strain, H3N2, the CDC reports.

This flu season has marked a return to more typical numbers after last year's widespread outbreak of the virus, which prompted the federal Centers for Disease Control to classify the virus as "high severity across all age groups" in the USA for the first time.

"H3N2, in general, produces more severe disease", he said.

Sixty-four children have died from the flu or flu complications so far this season.

Deep into the flu season, 32 states are reporting high flu-like activity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Three states, Delaware, Maryland and Tennessee, reported minimal levels.

MA reported a decrease overall to more moderate though elevated levels of influenza-like illness activity during week nine as well other indicators that the state health department reported as elevated but that have also declined.

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Through the week ending March 2, as many as 26.3 million people have had the flu this season, which began on October 1.

Rates of hospitalization for influenza and pneumonia climbed above the established national threshold for the sixth time this season during week 8, and the proportion to all visits of people seeing a health care provider for influenza-like illness - some 4.7 percent - decreased slightly but remained above the national baseline of 2.2 percent at the end of week nine. Eight children died during the week, which brings the total this season to 64.

CDC reported Friday that influenza activity remains elevated throughout the United States, and some states are experiencing a second wave of severe infections. The previous week, more than 54 percent of new cases were caused by H3N2. The federal agency's flu forecasters think there's a 90 percent chance the flu season has peaked.

Last week, about 60 percent of the flu virus samples tested were the more troublesome strain, known as Type A H3N2.

There's a strong chance this flu season has peaked, but health officials are watching a recent wave of illnesses from a nastier flu strain.

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