Sorry, kids: If you’re 12 years of age or younger, you can’t visit any patients at Children’s Wisconsin in Milwaukee — but only temporarily.
Officials with the hospital told WISN-TV that the ban is in place to help prevent the spread of illnesses, namely the flu.
“To help prevent the spread of the influenza virus and other viral illnesses, and to protect the health of our patients, families, and staff, Children’s Wisconsin is implementing an annual temporary visitor restriction at both our Milwaukee and Fox Valley hospitals (as well as the Surgicenter),” chief medical officer of Children’s Wisconsin, Dr. Mike Gutzeit, said in a statement, according to the news outlet.
The ban only affects inpatient care areas and does not apply to clinic appointments, medical treatments or the emergency department.
The ban comes after Children’s Wisconsin has reportedly seen an increase in the number of children testing positive for the flu, WISN-TV reported.
Late last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a new report said there have been at least 2.6 million flu illnesses this year and 23,000 hospitalizations. Some 1,300 people across the U.S. have died of the flu so far this year.
Most of the illnesses this year have been caused by the influenza B/ Victoria viruses, which the CDC said is “unusual for this time of year.” This strain is most commonly reported among children 4 years of age or younger, according to the report.