Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

Flu tightens grip on Minnesota, where 3 children have died

Author:

A nasty flu outbreak did not pause to revel in the holiday spirit in Minnesota.

For the week ending Dec. 27, nearly 200 people were hospitalized with flu-related illnesses in the state, where the flu is considered "widespread,"according to a new report released Wednesday from the Minnesota Department of Health.

That's a total of 577 hospitalizations this flu season, which began in October. And that puts the state on pace for a nasty flu season compared to recent years, health officials say.

"When I think back to the most recent exceptionally severe flu season, that was 2012-2013, and what we're seeing this year is worse than that and occurring much earlier," Kris Ehresmann, director of epidemiology for the state health department, told MPR News.

Ehresmann also noted that on Monday, Minnesota clinics sent the state's public health lab 289 specimens for flu testing, which is an all-time daily record.

Children’s Hospitals and Clinics have had 748 lab-confirmed cases of flu, and nearly 100 children have been hospitalized there for it, Patsy Stinchfield, director of infection control and prevention, told the Star Tribune.

“I’ve never seen a December like this,” she told the newspaper.

Nationwide, 15 children have died as the result of flu-related illnesses, three in Minnesota.

Among them was Shannon Zwanziger, an active 17-year-old from Owatonna who was rarely sick, described by her mother Gwen as a "perfect kid." Gwen told CNN that Shannon on Dec. 9 had managed to get out of bed and made her way to the bathroom.

"I helped her get in the bathtub, but when I saw her eyes, I said, 'I think this is a mistake – we've got to get you out of here,' " Gwen told CNN on Wednesday. "She couldn't help me get her out. So I lifted her up, and she passed away in my arms." (A fundraiser for the family is ongoing at Youcaring.com.)

On Tuesday, the CDC announced that the U.S. flu outbreak had crossed the "epidemic" threshold, with 22 states reporting a "high" level of influenza activity, up from 13 the previous week. A new national flu report is due Monday from the CDC.

"At this time, all of CDC's influenza surveillance systems are showing elevated flu activity, indicating that we are in the midst of this season's flu epidemic," the CDC's Erin Burns told USA Today.

Next Up

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves' winning streak snapped at five games

The Wolves' bid for their longest winning streak since 2014 came up short.

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 6.45.53 PM

Teen arrested over fatal shooting of 5-year-old boy in Brooklyn Park

Police say the teen was filming a social media video while handling a gun.

Joe Biden

President Biden coming to Minnesota to promote Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Tuesday's trip follows passage of the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal.

Kirill Kaprizov

Kaprizov gets into the holiday spirit to rout Jets

Kirill Kaprizov's four points led the Wild to a 7-1 victory.

Kirk Cousins

Coller: Cure to Vikings' disrupted season lies in an explosive passing game

The Vikings go to San Francisco knowing that a win would be a huge boost to their playoff hopes.

unsplash football helmet ground

Judge upholds star QBs suspension for state championship game

Sam Backer, of Chatfield Senior High, won't be allowed to play in Friday's title game.

Screen Shot 2021-11-25 at 7.53.37 AM

Another 5,000 lbs. of goldfish removed from Carver County lakes

It all likely stemmed from people dumping their pets into local waters a few years ago.

Rosaleia Shelton

Appeal to find 19-year-old missing from Bloomington

The teen left her home on Monday afternoon.

hospital, emergency room

Deaths of twin fetuses after woman was shot ruled a double homicide

The woman was shot in the abdomen in mid-September.

Related