High number of children's deaths as flu season approaches end

High number of children's deaths as flu season approaches end
(Source: WSFA 12 News file photo)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Flu season is coming to a close and officials are saying it was the deadliest flu season for children in over a decade.

The flu killed 172 children across the country this season.

"Unfortunately we have deaths every year. This was an active season," said Dr. Burnestine Taylor with the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Dr. Taylor believes this year was particularly bad because of the different strains of flu going around at the same time.

"If you recall, we had a predominance of the A strain early on and then we had a surge of B. So what happened is this season we had people who had had one strain of flu and actually got flu a second time," Taylor said.

Another reason this flu season was so bad was because the vaccine wasn't very effective.

"Every year there are some problems with the coverage of the flu shot depending on the different strains and it was more protective for the A strain," said Taylor.

According to the ADPH, this year there were 147 flu-related deaths in Alabama, and two of those who died were children. But, just because the flu shot wasn't as effective as they had hoped this season, that doesn't mean you shouldn't get the vaccine next season.

"It's never perfect, but it can reduce your chances of having risk associated with the flu," said Taylor.

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