What’s the Latest with the Flu: Information from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
Current Flu Situation
As of March 7, flu activity was still elevated in the United States and expected to continue for several weeks. The season so far has been moderate. The majority of states reported widespread influenza activity at this time. With 40 pediatric deaths from influenza reported so far this flu season, even one preventable death is too many. Flu-related deaths in children younger than 18 years old should be reported through the Influenza-Associated Pediatric Mortality Surveillance System. The number of flu-associated deaths among children reported during this 2016-2017 flu season will be updated each week and can be found at www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly.
It is important to continue to recommend influenza vaccination. Children 6 months through 8
years of age need 2 doses if they have received fewer than 2 doses of any trivalent or quadrivalent influenza vaccine before July 1, 2016. The interval between the 2 doses should be at least 4 weeks. This age cohort requires only 1 dose if these children have previously received 2 or more total doses of any trivalent or quadrivalent influenza vaccine before July 1, 2016. The 2 previous doses do not need to have been received during the same influenza season or in consecutive influenza seasons. See the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy, “Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2016–2017”, for more information.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) titled, “Update: Influenza Activity — United States, October 2, 2016–February 4, 2017” The report summarizes U.S. influenza activity for the dates listed.
More Influenza Illness Suggests Need for More Rapid Antiviral Treatment
Children clinically presumed to have influenza should be considered for early antiviral treatment, when indicated, independent of laboratory confirmation or receipt of influenza vaccine. This crucial approach can help minimize morbidity and mortality, particularly in young children, and those who are hospitalized or who have underlying co-morbidities. Antiviral treatment should be started as soon as possible after influenza illness onset and should not be delayed while waiting for a confirmatory test result because early therapy provides the best outcomes.
Treating high risk children or children who are very sick with flu with antiviral drugs is very important. It can mean the difference between having a milder illness instead of a very serious one that could result in a hospital stay. See the AAP policy or visit the CDC Antiviral Drugs Web page for information about how antiviral medications can be used to prevent or treat influenza when influenza activity is present in the community. A summary of antiviral recommendations for clinicians is available on the CDC Web page Influenza Antiviral Medications: Summary for Clinicians.
CDC Webinar: 2016-2017 Influenza Season Activity and Recommendations for Clinicians
On February 16, 2017, the CDC Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) hosted a webinar titled “2016-2017 Influenza Season Activity and Recommendations for Clinicians.” During this webinar, clinicians learned about 2016-2017 influenza activity to date and heard an overview of CDC recommendations for health care providers including influenza vaccination and the use of antiviral medications for the treatment of influenza. An archived version of the webinar, a transcript, and presentation materials are available online.
Ready Wrigley Preparedness for Flu Season
The AAP worked with the CDC to develop and endorse a new Ready Wrigley Activity Booklet on influenza. Each book aims to build capacity in children’s preparedness by inspiring youth readiness and promoting individual resilience. The books are designed for children 2 to 8 years of age. The Ready Wrigley Activity Book series is produced by the CDC Children’s Preparedness Unit and CDC communication specialists.
For more information, see the AAP Red Book Online Influenza Resource page and CDC FluView. All AAP “What’s the Latest with the Flu” messages are archived. Members of the AAP also have access to Flu Vaccine Recommendations and Key Speaking Points.