There is no data for toddler's death due to Swine Flu but it does not
mean that toddlers are immune from Swine Flu. It only shows that Swine
Flu is so infective that it kills children first before reaching
toddlers. Once Swine Flu reaches toddlers, its effect will be even
worse than Common Flu.
Toronto — From Friday's Globe and Mail Last updated on Friday, Sep.
04, 2009 03:39AM EDT
The H1N1 pandemic virus is deadliest among school-age children, a
departure from the seasonal flu, which is more often fatal to babies
and toddlers, early indicators from U.S. health authorities show.
The findings Thursday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention come as health authorities brace for the start of the
school year, fearing that classrooms will serve as incubators for the
swine flu virus to spread rapidly.
Influenza deaths are generally rare in children. But the study of 36
lab-confirmed swine flu deaths in children suggest that those over the
age of 5 are among the groups who are at the greatest risk of being
severely infected by the new virus, and, as a result, should be first
in line to be vaccinated.
More than 80 per cent of the pediatric deaths from H1N1 were among
children between the ages of 5 and 18, the analysis found. In a normal
flu season, half or more of the children who die are babies and
Even more significantly, the agency found that children with
underlying medical disabilities had a higher risk of being severely
infected and succumbing to the virus. Almost two-thirds of U.S.
children who died with swine flu had epilepsy, cerebral palsy or other
neuro-developmental conditions. In a previous flu season, only a third
of pediatric deaths had those conditions.
"Child deaths from influenza are really tragic," Thomas Frieden,
director of the U.S. CDC, told reporters in a news briefing yesterday.
"If children have underlying conditions – and two-thirds of the
children in this report had conditions such as muscular dystrophy and
cerebral palsy – it's very important that they be treated promptly.
And if a child is severely ill, if they're having trouble breathing,
if their fever comes back after it went away, if they are having
difficulty keeping fluids down, then it's very important to get
Dr. Frieden cautioned that it's too early to know whether there will
be more pediatric deaths from the H1N1 virus than seasonal flu. Each
year 50 to 100 American children die of seasonal flu, he said.
The virus, which first appeared in April, has caused relatively mild
disease. But health authorities have noted that it has
disproportionately affected younger people, unlike seasonal flu that
mainly burdens the elderly. Officials believe that while young people
have been exposed to other flu strains, they don't respond as well to
H1N1 as older people who have been exposed to similar viruses in the
In Canada, there have been 227 pediatric cases of H1N1 – where the
children have been admitted to hospital – including three deaths.
David Butler-Jones, Canada's chief public health officer, said
Thursday that more than half of those children and adolescents had
underlying medical conditions, including asthma. The three children
who died had severe underlying problems that put them at a much
greater risk of disease and death, he said.
Canada has ordered 50 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine for all those
who need and want it. Health authorities have indicated that a list of
who should receive it first will be released in the middle of this
"Immunization in childhood, given the risks, is going to be an
important part of the program," Dr. Butler-Jones said Thursday.