Flu claims first child death in SC, outbreak expected to continue
by Staff Reports | February 12, 2018 5:49 am
Last Updated: February 12, 2018 at 1:51 am
The 2017-18 flu season has claimed its first death in South Carolina.
The state Department of Health and Environmental Control aid the pediatric fatality was reported late last week.
And the Centers for Disease Control warn that more sickness – and fatalities – are likely as the dread illness has not even peaked for the season.
Thus far, 68 children have reportedly been felled by the flu. CDC Acting Director Ann Schuchat said the agency doesn’t require national reporting of flu deaths in adults.
“I wish there were better news this week, but almost everything we’re looking at is bad news,” Schuchat said. “There have been far too many heart-wrenching stories in recent weeks about families who have lost loved ones to influenza.”
Previous outbreaks had lasted between 11 and 20 weeks, and the current outbreak was in its 11th week, she said.
The number of people hospitalized for flu-like illnesses is the highest the CDC has seen since starting its current tracking system in 2010.
The dominant flu strain this season, influenza A (H3N2), is especially potent, linked with severe disease and death, particularly among children and the elderly.
The outbreak has reached almost every corner of the country, with every state except Hawaii and Oregon reporting widespread flu, Schuchat said.
She urged sick people to stay home and said it is still not too late for people to get a flu vaccine, which offers some protection.
As for South Carolina, DHEC released its latest numbers Feb. 7, showing that there have been a total of 518 hospitalizations. Forty-nine hospitals have sheltered flu victims, and 22 South Carolinians have succumbed to the disease.
Likewise, 10,726 cases of the flu had been reported to DHEC in the week from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3. The week before, the agency recorded 1,504 more cases of the illness.
DHEC has not given a specific number for cases in Clarendon County, but a survey map shows that the county has experienced at least 75 cases, which DHEC felt was at the threshold for “widespread.”