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Flu season on the upswing in Minnesota; 36 hospitalized last week

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The spread of influenza kicked into high gear in Minnesota last week, sending 36 people to the hospital.

The data from the week that ended on Dec. 21 shows a 50 percent increase in new hospitalizations from the previous week.

No deaths have been reported.

Minnesota is coming off a severe 2012-13 season when there were more than 200 flu-related deaths in the state.

During the same week of the previous season, 173 people were hospitalized, according to the flu report from the Minnesota Department of Health. That's more than the total number of hospitalizations, 104, so far this season.

MDH spokesman Doug Schultz told the Pioneer Press it's too early to tell how the season will ultimately compare. The lower activity levels could be a sign of a milder season or the season starting later, Schultz says.

Minnesota is much better off than other parts of the country. CBS News reports the flu is widespread in southern states like Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

At least five people have died from the H1N1 strain, known as swine flu, in Texas.

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