6 flu deaths among kids reported in Canada

Flu activity is still high in Canada, and the youngest kids are being hit hardest, federal health officials reported Friday.

Child deaths all among those under the age of 10

The H1N1 virus is the predominant strain circulating in Canada and the U.S. this flu season. (Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press)

Flu activity remains high in Canada, according to a new report released on Friday that confirms children and teens were hit hard.

A total of  17,743 laboratory-confirmed flu cases have been reported, the Public Health Agency of Canada said in its weekly FluWatch report.

Six pediatric deaths occurred so far this season, all children under the age of 10. There were also 95 pediatric admissions to ICU for flu.

Influenza A is the most common form of the virus circulating in Canada, and the majority of these viruses are H1N1. 

The Canadian report covers the period Dec. 30 to Jan. 5.

Elsewhere on Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated 69,000 to 84,000 Americans were hospitalized due to the flu in the last three months.

The U.S. saw one of the worst flu outbreaks in nearly a  decade during the 2017-2018 season, with more than 900,000 cases of hospitalizations and over 80,000 deaths, the CDC estimates .

The H1N1 virus is also the predominant strain in the U.S. this year. 

Flu infections bring fever, cough, general malaise and achy muscles and joints.

Health officials in both countries say  it's not too late to get a flu vaccine to reduce the risk of contracting the virus.

They also recommend that people stay at home and not go to work or school if ill. Everyone is encouraged to wash their hands often, and to cough and sneeze into your elbow.

With files from Reuters

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