Even at the time, Texas physicians understood that the 2017-18 flu season was one for the books. But nobody knew just how bad it was until
Thursday, when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
released new numbers.
Last winter, influenza and its complications killed more
than 80,000 in the United States and hospitalized more than 900,000 — the highest
totals for death and illness during a seasonal outbreak since CDC numbers on
flu deaths were first reported in 1976. Previously, flu-related deaths had ranged from 12,000 in the 2011-12
season to the previous high of 56,000 in 2012-2013. The CDC figures are
estimates based on statistical models.
The 180 children
who died in 2017-2018 was also a new record, beating the old one of 171 set in
2012-2013. The majority of them were unvaccinated, CDC said.
In Texas, more
than 11,000 people died from flu and its complications during the 2017-18 flu
season, including 16 children, the Texas Department of State Health Services
Thursday's announcement, CDC had branded 2017-2018 a
"high severity season" based on anecdotal evidence and the data that
was available. There were several reasons for that severity but perhaps the
biggest was that last year's vaccine was not effective against all the strains
that appeared. In a typical flu season, flu vaccine can be up to 40- to 60-percent
effective. The 2017-18 vaccine was 36-percent effective, one CDC study found.
Medicine magazine's October issue has a more in-depth story on the
hows and whys of last year's flu season — and some insight on whether this
year's season will be better.
Last Updated On
October 19, 2018