October 9th, 2009
08:14 PM ET

H1N1 rapid rise in pediatric deaths

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/10/05/h1n1.vaccine.campaign/art.h1n1.vaccine.wthr.jpg caption="Health care workers in Indiana and Tennessee were among the first to receive the H1N1 vaccine."]

David Puente
AC360° Producer

“Is Sanjay still in the building?” that’s what I heard a senior producer in New York shouting across the newsroom at almost 6PM today.

“Not likely at this hour on a Friday,” someone else mumbled. But sure enough Sanjay said he’d be ready to be on the set to pretape a segment with Anderson on the rapid rise in pediatric deaths from H1N1. I was assigned to produce the segment so I reached out to our medical unit’s producer and formulated questions.

Then CNN’s medical unit confirmed that there were another 19 deaths of children and teens from H1N1 reported in the past week around the country. That brings the total number of fatalities to 76 among those younger than age 18.

There were two deaths reported in Maryland, three were in Tennessee, seven in Texas and one each in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.

Tonight we ask Sanjay about what’s believed to be the largest number of pediatric deaths reported in a single week since the pandemic began last spring. Now that the H1N1 vaccine is getting rolled out – will that help put a stop to the rise in pediactric deaths?

On our blog, Mazin asks: “My son does not want my 7 year old grandson vaccinated because he had a bad reaction from last year’s regular flu shot. Does the H1N1 nasal spray vaccination have a potential bad reaction?”

Back in the newsroom a sense of concern especially from those who are parents. With all the doubt, distrust and misinformation out there about the vaccine and when and where to get it, it may not come as a surprise to you.

Tune in at 10PM tonight for the answer to Mazin’s question and Sanjay Gupta tells us whether or not he’s vaccinating his children.

Follow David on Twitter @puenteac360.

Become a Friend on Facebook.

Filed under: David Puente • H1N1 • Sanjay Gupta
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    What is it about this flu that puts the young at such a high risk? I have a 16 year old that I'm going to have get the shot but I'm not sure whether to do the same for my older daughter who is 20 and at college.

    Twenty years ago some public health nurses who lived through the 1918 flu as children were telling me about it in my hometown – they said there were so many sick that parents couldn't take care of their young sick children; the county began putting these children in the general hospital there at the time – just rows and rows of beds with sick children. One nurse said her older sister was placed in the hospital – she said she had always wondered how her mother handled it because there was no visitation and generally as the public health removed the child from their home the mothers never saw their child alive again. That is what happened to her sister – she was gone for several days and then someone from public health showed up again and informed the family of her death. How hard that must have been. I keep thinking of that story now during this outbreak – I hope this time we are more prepared than we were in 1918.

    October 9, 2009 at 9:24 pm |
  2. Appalled In Austin

    Quite unfortunate, our son's friend passed this week in Austin,TX, she was 5 years old and a real litttle sunshine. She had a bacterial infection after H1N1/swine flu that took her life in 48 hours.

    The main debate in congress this week is troops in Afganistan but the REAL terror is H1N1/swine flu in the USA, killing children.

    October 9, 2009 at 9:14 pm |