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Flu outbreak now 'widespread' in Minnesota, 60 more schools affected

The outbreak is worsening.
Cold flu

The outbreak of influenza in Minnesota has now reached "widespread" levels, according to the state's Department of Health.

Data for the week ending Dec. 14 shows "widespread geographic spread" of the flu, with the number of hospitalizations increasing to 61 last week from 48 the week before.

The situation is particularly noticeable in schools, where 60 more schools have been impacted by the outbreak. So far this flu season, 123 schools have seen more than 5 percent of their student body absent due to flu or flu-like illnesses.

It follows reports over the past week including more than 300 students being sickened at a school in Shakopee, with the illness also blamed for the cancelation of school sporting events.

Of the hospitalizations that happened last week, the majority of patients have come down with a B strain of influenza, which is unusual for the start of the flu season, when the A strain is typically more common.

There have been more hospitalizations than usual so far compared to most of the recent years with the exception of the particularly bad flu season in 2017-18, when a total of 6,446 people required hospital treatment.

So far, six deaths have been linked to the flu outbreak in Minnesota. None of these were children.

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