A total of 101influenza-associated deaths in children occurred throughout the 2016-2017 flu season, according to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is the first time since the 2014-2015 season that the number has exceeded 100.

Although full information on the vaccination status of these children is not yet available, in past seasons, between 80% and 85% of flu-associated pediatric deaths have occurred in children who had not received flu vaccine. The CDC also reported that the influenza A (H3N2) virus, typically associated with more severe outcomes for children and older adults, predominated in the 2016-2017 season.

A study reported in Pediatrics found that flu vaccination reduced the risk of flu-associated death by 51% among children with underlying high-risk conditions and by nearly 65% among otherwise healthy children between 2010 and 2014.

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The CDC recommends that everyone aged 6 months and older be vaccinated for the flu, even though children younger than 5 may be more vulnerable to serious flu complications. Certain long-term health problems, such as asthma or other lung disorders, heart disease, or a neurologic or neurodevelopmental disorder, may also increase the risk for complications.

For the 2016-2017 season, influenza-like illness was at or above baseline for 17 consecutive weeks, with activity peaking nationally in February.


  1. CDC: Reported flu deaths in children surpass 100 for 2016-17 [press release]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. June 23, 2017.
  2. Flannery B, Reynolds SB, Blanton L. et al. Influenza vaccine effectiveness against pediatric deaths: 2010-2014. Pediatrics. May 2017. doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-4244