The second pediatric flu death of the season was confirmed in Texas after a 3-year-old girl died earlier this month. EPA/JOHN G. MABANGLO
Oct. 28 (UPI) -- Texas officials confirmed the death of a 3-year-old girl earlier this month was related to the flu.
The girl's death is the second confirmed pediatric flu-related death of the season in the United States, according to a report from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
Public health officials in Hidalgo County, Texas, where the girl was hospitalized, said she died of "respiratory symptoms."
More than a week after death actually occurred, Public Health Director Carlos Sanchez confirmed to ValleyCentral news station she had tested positive for the flu.
Deaths of children age 12 and under are required to undergo a verification process by state health officials before being confirmed as flu-related, even if symptoms were evident.
The CDC estimates there have already been as many as 880,000 flu cases, 39,000 hospitalizations and 360 deaths this season. It has observed early increases in flu cases, with the Southeast and South-Central regions of the United States experiencing the biggest surge.
The flu season varies year to year, but typically doctors begin to see cases increasing in October and peaking between December and February.
Clinical lab tests have found the flu virus present in 6.2% of tests this week. About 3.3% of outpatient visits were for respiratory illness. The most common strain of the flu has been influenza A(H3N2), which makes up more than 83% of this week's cases.
About 12% of outpatient visits for respiratory illness were children 4 years old or younger this week, the most of any age group.
Throughout the 2021-22 flu season there were 39 pediatric deaths, though there may have been more cases unconfirmed.
Flu symptoms often come on suddenly but may vary in severity. Common symptoms include fever, chills, aches, cough, sore throat, runny nose or congestion and fatigue.
The CDC promotes annual flu vaccines as the best way to prevent contracting the virus. Other preventative steps include washing your hands, covering coughs and sneezes and cleaning frequently touched surfaces.