Child deaths from the flu this season are the highest in years

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Ten children have died from influenza-related illness during this flu season in Minnesota, topping the number of pediatric flu deaths in the 2009 "pandemic."

The most recent flu report from the Minnesota Department of Health notes one pediatric death in the past week.

Health officials are saying this flu season may be the state's worst since 2009, MPR News reports, with hospitalizations exceeding the state's highest levels in the past five years by about 900.

With 22 new hospitalizations this week, 3,971 people were hospitalized so far this season compared to 3,068 in the 2012 - 2013 season. The spread of infection has gone down since its peak in December and January.

Children's Infection Control Director Patsy Stinchfield told MPR the vaccine was not as effective this year – something officials warned about.

However, a majority the patients hospitalized with influenza are 65 or older. The median age at admission is 76.4.

The flu season usually lasts until April or May, KSTP reports.

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