Report: Flu outbreaks in Minnesota schools double in a week

The Weekly Respiratory Illness Report for the week ending October 29 shows the total number of flu hospitalizations nearly tripled from the previous week, to 72.

PLYMOUTH, Minnesota — Minnesota is starting to see an increase in flu cases, according to new data from the state Department of Health.

The Weekly Influenza and Respiratory Illness Report for the week ending October 29, 2022 shows that flu hospitalizations nearly tripled from the previous week. In the most recent report, 72 flu hospitalizations have been reported so far this season. During the week ending October 22, there were 25 total flu hospitalizations.

“We are 6 to 8 weeks ahead of the usual start of the season,” said Dr. Frank Rahme, infectious disease physician at Allina Health.

Flu outbreaks in schools are also on the rise.

New figures from the MDH show there have now been 35 total school flu outbreaks so far this season, up from 17 the previous week. During the week of October 23-29, there were 18 new outbreaks in schools.

“Usually schools get it first, and then we get it in long-term care facilities,” Dr. Rahme said.

According to MDH, K-12 schools report an outbreak of influenza-like illness (ILI) when the number of absent students with ILI reaches 5% of total enrollment or when three or more students with ILI are absent from the same elementary class.

From 2019 to 2020, there were 921 school-based flu outbreaks during flu season.

On Nov. 1, Plymouth Middle School reported that at least 5% of its student population had cold and flu symptoms, including fever over 100 degrees, sore throat, cough and/or congestion nasal.

The school did not say whether a specific disease or strain made most children sick, but asked families to keep children home until they are well enough to return to school. : Once they have been fever-free for 24 hours without needing fever medicine or 24 hours after their last episode of vomiting or diarrhea.

“The effectiveness of the vaccine depends on how many people take it and the bad season. You can have a great vaccine, but the worst season in many cases,” Dr. Rahme said. He went on to explain that “if we could get everyone vaccinated, it would help us protect each other.”

Need a flu shot? Click here to find a clinic or pharmacy that administers the flu vaccine near you.

Two people have died of the flu so far this season, neither of which was a pediatric death, according to MDH.

Nationally and in Minnesota, healthcare providers are reporting an increase in RSV cases. By late October, MDH data showed that more than 500 RSV cases had been reported in the state. Most children hospitalized with RSV were 1 year or younger.

According to the Weekly Influenza Report, nearly 140 children aged 0-17 were hospitalized with RSV during the week ending October 29.

Watch the latest local news from the Twin Cities in our YouTube Playlist:

Leave a Comment