By ADRIAN MOJICA, WZTV
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports there have been 16 more pediatric flu deaths the past week, bringing the total to 53 children who have died during the current outbreak.
Dan Jernigan, Director of the Influenza Division for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease, stated on Friday the last time the CDC saw such an increase in one week was during the 2014/2015 season.
Jernigan says they have data showing the various strains of flu are affecting children, not just the dominant influenza A (H3N2) virus.
Overall, this season's outbreak has recorded the highest hospitalization rate for flu symptoms since the CDC started tracking such data in 2010. Currently, the rate of hospitalizations is 51.4 percent.
States reporting increases have also risen to 42 states over the last week, compared to 39 states the previous week.
"This is an unusual pattern for flu in the U.S.," Jernigan says. The CDC shows the flu is still widespread and it's increasing, leaving officials to believe Americans may still have several weeks left of increasing flu activity.