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Another child dies of the flu in South Carolina, but DHEC report shows activity is down

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A flu test kit diagnoses both strains of the flu at Roper St. Francis Express Care on James Island on Thursday, January 18, 2018. File/Grace Beahm Alford/Staff

Flu activity continued to decline in the last week, but experts at both the federal and state health agencies said influenza is still considered widespread.

There were 6,332 influenza cases reported in the state in all, less than half that of the previous week, according to a report from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

But another child was reported dead from the flu, the second this season in the state. Both were 4 years old or younger. DHEC does not release any additional information about specific flu deaths. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 97 children have died of flu across the country.

All told, 167 people in South Carolina have died of the flu. The majority were 65 or older.

This is the eleventh week of widespread activity. The flu season usually ends in May.

Unlike the rest of the season, influenza B was dominant over influenza A, according to DHEC. The A-type has been problematic this year, with the strain causing widespread illness and death.

The CDC's most recent numbers from mid-February — federal data tends to lag behind state data — showed influenza A was still the more dominant sub-type reported by public health agencies across the country.

Reach Mary Katherine Wildeman at 843-937-5594. Follow her on Twitter @mkwildeman.

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