Children Are Especially Susceptible to Current Type B Influenza Strain
USA Today; 7D
Type B influenza, which has not been seen in the United States since the early 1990s, is now causing some schools to close temporarily because of high absenteeism rates, say health and school officials. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) epidemiologist Lynette Brammer says that children under age 13 have not seen this strain before and thus are more susceptible than older children; the CDC recommends annual flu vaccinations for children with medical conditions that make flu complications a risk, and it encourages flu shots for healthy children between the ages of six months and 23 months of age. Kentucky Department of Education spokeswoman Lisa Gross says that schools in that state close fairly often depending on the severity of the flu season, since school funding is based on average daily attendance. Schools in Indiana, Tennessee, Iowa, Georgia, and Missouri have seen outbreaks of illness, but it is not clear if all the sick children had flu.