NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Middle Tennessee is at the peak of a wicked flu season. To make matters worse, there’s a strain of the flu that children are catching.

Last year, Vanderbilt University Medical Center tested thousands of people for the flu virus. Of that number, 57 tested positive for Influenza A and just four had Influenza B.

This year Influenza B is the dominant strain by almost 2 to 1.

Why are children getting so sick?

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, sees it more like a one-two punch of two different strains.

Influenza B, which started the season with a band, and now Influenza A, particularly like to affect children and young adults. Schaffner said they are seeing a lot of children being sick, relatively sparing the older adults.

There have been 32 pediatric flu deaths this season in the United States with two being reported in Tennessee.

While the B strain came on strong early, this year’s flu shot is not a perfect match for the B virus. However, even if you get a flu shot, you are likely to have a less severe infection.

“You’re less likely to get pneumonia, having to go to the emergency room, and being hospitalized and dying,” said Schaffner. “We undervalue the secondary prevention.”

While it’s late in the flu season, it’s not too late to get a flu shot.

“We should all get vaccinated, so we don’t bring it home to the kids,” said Schaffner.

 
 

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Alan Frio is the anchor of News4's evening newscasts on Saturdays and Sundays.

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