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Week 46 Sets Record
H1N1 US Pediatric Fatalities
The above description of the 35 fatal pediatric deaths in week 46 in the US will be published on Monday. The 35 ties that weekly record set two weeks ago, and the new entries raise the 2009/2010 season total to 178, which is a new record. The 138 last week represented the highest tally since adolescent fatalities became mandatory, when 142 died in 2003/2004. 178 is a new all time high, but it will be broken each week until there is a break, which may not happen in 2010.
The pediatric deaths allow for a true comparison of swine flu to seasonal flu, because the tally represents lab confirmed cases for both, in contrast to the much cited 36,000 seasonal flu casualties which is an estimate and largely (90%) represents fatalities who are over 65.
However, week 46 is still the beginning of the traditional flu season, and since the start of mandatory reporting, the first reported fatality for the season is in January, so the season total for week 46 has always been zero.