The United States has had its worst flu season this year. CNN reported on Tuesday that 27 children across the country have died as a result of viral complications.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says this is the largest death toll from childhood flu since the CDC began tracking 17 years ago.

The virus has now spread to the northeastern United States. It started in the southeast, and by mid-November, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi had the highest levels of influenza activity.

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2900 people died of influenza last year and 55,000 were hospitalized.

Dr. Adam Ratner, a pediatric infectious disease physician at New York University, told CNN that most children admitted to the hospital were completely healthy before the flu outbreak.

He said he had seen patients with life-threatening pneumonia that required surgery to drain a chest abscess, and most of them were very healthy before being infected with the flu.

“These children are not immunocompromised or similar, but they eventually adopted ECMO,” said Dr. Ratner.

He added that most of them have not been vaccinated against influenza. Doctors in the United States recommend that people take the recommended flu vaccine to prevent more deaths.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people who are six or more months get an influenza vaccine. Children under 5 years, adults over 65 years, pregnant women, people with asthma, diabetes, HIV or cancer, and people with autoimmune diseases should be specially vaccinated.

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