"That means we've received reports for a total of 53 children who have died of the flu so far this season". It's the first finding in New York State this flu season, and first finding in New York State since the 2012-2013 flu season.
CDC director Anne Schuchat said: "I know many of you are concerned about this flu season and have seen the heartbreaking stories of those who have lost loved ones".
"I wish that there were better news this week", Schuchat said, "but nearly everything we're looking at is bad news". The H3N2 flu strain is infecting the most people, according to the CDC.
The latest statistics showed that the share of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness - defined as fever of 100 degrees or higher coupled with a cough, sore throat, or both - was 7.65 percent for the week ending February 3. This outbreak is now at or above epidemic level and is as bad as the swine flu outbreak of 2009.
Health experts in the US will use data from Australia and other parts of the world to piece together information to develop the best vaccine for a particular flu season. "Facilities that are experiencing high rates of flu should ensure that they are cleaning and disinfecting regularly and that ill individuals are isolated to help prevent additional cases of the flu".
The CDC reports influenza activity in the United States has increased significantly in recent weeks.
In the weekly report, however, the CDC revealed that levels of H3N2 appear to be dropping. While the influenza A viruses have been dominant this year, particularly the H3N2, influenza B viruses are now becoming more common and it is definitely possible for someone to get both strains, Schuchat said.
Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec covered efforts, in collaboration with the private sector, to develop and procure pandemic flu vaccines in greater volume and with greater effectiveness.
"So many states have high activity at the same time", Schuchat said, during the briefing.
Tompkins County, similar to statewide trends, is seeing an increase in flu this season, the press release said.
Lately, positive tests for less deadly B flu strains have started to pick up. It's unknown if those victims had gotten a flu shot or not. People might need to call around to pharmacies to fill a prescription, said Schuchat. Scientists expect the flu to be most unsafe among small children and the elderly, not so much among the working-age healthy population. People can also become infected by touching surfaces or objects contaminated with influenza viruses and then touching their eyes, mouth or nose.