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Which Kids Die of Flu?

CDC: Children Under Age 5 at Risk of Severe Flu

Flu Drugs Given Too Late

The CDC report identifies a glaring problem with how kids with flu are treated: getting antiviral flu drugs, such as Tamiflu, too late.

Half the kids who died in a hospital or emergency department never received antiviral flu drugs. That's probably because doctors waited for the results of flu tests before ordering the medication.

"We did not see an optimal number of kids treated among those who died," Finelli says. "They should start antiviral agents even before they test for flu. They can test for flu in the meantime, but antiviral agents save lives. They should be given at the soonest opportunity to children with severe flu symptoms."

The CDC report appears in the Sept. 15 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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