CDC: U.S. flu cases jump; 13 children have died so far


(CNN/WKRG) — The flu is on the rise in much of the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency says 19 states now have high levels of flu activity and the number of children who have died because of the flu has hit double digits.

Allison Eagle Speaker, 6, loved her big brother, Matt, and little sister, Daisy, and Native American dancing.

“She was a beautiful little girl. We were blessed with her life and we miss her dearly,” said Crystal White Shield, who is Allison’s mother.

Allison, who lived in Montana, died on Dec. 1 from the flu. 

New numbers out from the CDC Friday show that the situation is getting worse.

Nineteen states are showing high levels of flu activity compared to nine states last week and 13 children have died from the flu this season.

Children are particularly vulnerable to H1N1, which is this his year’s predominant flu strain.

Shield wants other parents to be watchful when their children have the flu.

Allison died less than 48 hours after first becoming ill.

“This illness hit her really hard and really fast. For it to just take her life, nothing prepares you for how fast it moves,” Shield said.

While Allison had mild asthma about half of the children who die from the flu are otherwise healthy, according to the CDC. 

And 80 percent of the children who died last year had not received a flu shot. 

With months of flu season still to go, it’s not too late for children or adults to get vaccinated.

The flu season began in October and runs through May, according to the CDC.

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