• CDC: Child flu deaths could reach record high

    By: Ben Becker , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    Flu activity is reaching the highest level in nearly a decade.

    To make matters worse, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning child deaths could reach record highs this season.

    Locally, Wolfson Children's Hospital has seen a huge spike in patients with flu symptoms.

    Also, the flu vaccine is not as effective this year as hoped.

    Officials say this year's flu season is now more intense than any since 2009 and is still getting worse.
    Benjamin Porter took his 3-year-old son to Wolfson Children's Hospital with a fever and fears of the flu.

    "I'm just concerned it hasn't gone away," Porter said.

    He's not alone. Wolfson officials said nearly two-thirds of children tested for influenza this flu season have the virus. It's usually less than a third.

    Dr. Mobeen Rathore, chief of infectious diseases at Wolfson, said this year’s vaccine turned out to be a mismatch with the most prominent strain of influenza, H3N2.

    Action News Jax's Ben Becker: "Was something missed this time?"

    Rathore: “Nothing was missed. It's a predictive model that's based on solid scientific predictions but predictions are just that -- predictions."

    Thirty-seven children nationwide have died from flu-related illnesses this season. Recently in Palm Beach County, the medical examiner said preliminary autopsy findings show Influenza B killed a 12-year-old boy.

    As for Porter, he said he's trying to keep his 3-month-old daughter safe 

    "I don't even want her in the emergency room, no," he said.

    Doctors say even if the flu shot isn't as potent, it's better to get one than have nothing at all. And health experts still say it's not too late to get one.

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