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A child in Minnesota under the age of 18 has died from the flu, marking the first pediatric influenza death in the state since the 2019-20 winter season.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported the pediatric flu death in Thursday's weekly update. It is one of three new influenza deaths reported in the past week, with the other two occurring among adults.

The average age of the five total people to die from the flu this season is 39.

This is the first pediatric flu death in Minnesota since the 2019-20 season, when the state saw three. No child died of influenza last winter in what was a remarkably mild influenza season that resulted in just seven total influenza deaths, all of them adults.

Influenza deaths since the 2016-17 season.

Influenza deaths since the 2016-17 season.

MDH said there have been a total of 87 flu outbreaks in schools this season, 24 of which came in the most recent reporting week.

Health officials have expressed concern about a potentially devastating flu season this winter, in part because so few people got the flu last year. 

So far there have been 87 hospitalizations associated with influenza, more than double the total number (35) last season, during the first winter of the COVID pandemic. 

MDH, in this week's report, said there are signs flu vaccine uptake has dropped compared to last season.

"The flu season is just getting started," MDH wrote. "It’s not too late to get vaccinated."

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