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New York Reports Sixth Pediatric Flu Death
Recombinomics Commentary 18:00
February 7, 2013

The Erie County Health Commissioner urged all parents to immunize their children from influenza following the death of a six-year-old girl from Erie County.

The girl died at Woman and Children's Hospital on Monday afternoon. Officials did not release her identity, but Eyewitness News has learned that she attended Saint Amelia School in Tonawanda where she was in first grade.

The above comments describe the sixth confirmed pediatric flu death in New York this season (assuming that the two deaths reported by New York City are included in the New York state totals).  As seen in the list below, the six deaths in New York are the second highest in the country (behind the nine deaths in Texas).

After the 2003-04 flu season, reporting of lab confirmed pediatric deaths became mandatory in the United States.  However, as seen in the list below, the number of reported cases is somewhat uneven.  New Jersey is one of the states with five reported cases (in addition to Colorado, Florida, and Michigan).

Pennsylvania has reported the largest number of adult flu deaths (122) but has only reported one pediatric death.  Media reports cited two deaths in children with flu-like conditions.  A six month old child died in Lehigh Valley and was reported as a pediatric death by hospital officials.  However, a subsequent flu test was negative.  Neither the cause of death nor the type of test was reported, so it is unclear if the test gave a true negative.  Other pediatric deaths have been unsubtyped because confirmation was done with a rapid test, which has a notoriously sensitivity (2 out of 3 influenza infected cases test negative).  A second case (17M) was describe in a Ridgway obituary (Elks County) and in week 4 the pediatric death was reported and the number of deaths in Elks County increased from 1 to 2 suggesting that the  obituary case was the confirmed case in Pennsylvania. 

However, one case out of 123 flu deaths is a remarkably low frequency.

FluView pediatric cases (59)
Wk #   Location
04    8   NJ(2) FL TX(2) CO AZ HI
03    8   NYC FL(2) TX CO(4)
02    9   MA NY(2) OH MN NE TX(2) MI
01    2   KS TX
52    2   MI NY
51    8   AR FL ME MI(2) TX WA WI
50    2   NJ
49    1   TX
48    3   IN FL SC
46    1   TX
41    1   TN

Pediatric deaths not in FluView (11)
05    5   OH ID(2) IN NY
04    2   CA SD
03    1   NJ+
02    1   DE*
52    1   IN
49    1   OH#

* = Lab confirmed
+ = Under investigation
# = Obituary report

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