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US Flu Season Report: Child Deaths Up to 84

Kilian Daugherty, 1, is prepped for a chest X-ray by radiology technologist Kerah Adams as he's examined for flu symptoms at Upson Regional Medical Center in Thomaston, Ga., Feb. 9, 2018.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says 84 children have died in this year's flu season, one of the most intense flu seasons since the swine flu pandemic in 2009.

In Friday's report from the nation's public health agency, experts said this year's unusually hardy flu strain is still widespread in 48 of the 50 U.S. states, with only the Pacific Island state of Hawaii and the northwestern state of Oregon excepted.

Friday's report also said for the week ending January 27, nearly 10 percent of U.S. death certificates listed flu or pneumonia as the cause.

The report noted that about one of every 13 doctor visits during that time was due to flu symptoms — no worse than the previous report, which means a steady increase in that total late last year and early this year has leveled off.

In a separate report Thursday, CDC experts reported that this year's flu vaccine is only about 25 percent effective at preventing this year's dominant flu strain, although success rates are higher among young children.

The CDC said most of the child deaths from this year's flu and in past seasons were among children who had not been vaccinated.

And on Thursday, acting CDC director Anne Schuchat told reporters that the U.S. flu season this year, which she called "challenging and intense," is expected to last several more weeks.