Last year's flu season killed about 80,000 in the U.S.

Note: Data represents share of outpatient visits to U.S. clinics. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet); Data: Centers for Disease Control; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Last season's flu epidemic is estimated to have killed 80,000 Americans — the highest level for at least four decades, Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Associated Press in an interview. It also caused the deaths of at least 180 children, 80% of whom were not vaccinated, per the CDC.

Why it matters: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and other public health officials will kick off a campaign today to promote seasonal flu vaccinations, in an effort to prevent a repeat of last year's terrible flu season.