From the Washington Post:
The deaths of another 19 children and teenagers from the new H1N1 virus were reported in the past week around the country, including two in Maryland, pushing the total number of fatalities to 76 among those younger than age 18, officials said. It was the largest number of pediatric deaths reported in a single week since the pandemic began last spring.
“These pediatric deaths seem to be increasing substantially,” said Anne Schuchat, who heads the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
While most of the children who have died have had other health problems that made them particularly vulnerable, such as asthma, muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy, about 20 percent to 30 percent were otherwise healthy, Schuchat said.
Between 46 and 88 children died from the seasonal flu in each of the last three years, so the fact that so many have already succumbed is disturbing, Schuchat said.
“It’s only the beginning of October,” she said, noting that the flu season usually starts much later and runs through May. “We saw a peak of deaths, you know, starting April, May, June. It started to level off this summer. Now it’s starting to shoot up again.”
In addition to the two deaths in Maryland, three were reported in Tennessee, seven occurred in Texas and one occurred in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.
I would hope that parents with the most vulnerable children ensure that the children are vaccinated as soon as the vaccine becomes available in their area.