SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2018

Flu season peaks in Minnesota

Public health officials in Minnesota recently said that the worst portion of the influenza season is likely over.

Minnesota State Health Department Infectious Disease Epidemiology Director Kris Ehresmann made the announcement after the number of flu-related hospitalizations dropped for three straight weeks, according to

Last week, Minnesota reported 135 flu-related hospitalizations, compared to 628 less than a month ago. Long-term healthcare facilities and schools have also reported a drop in the number of flu outbreaks.

"We definitely have started to see some slowing in influenza activity," Ehresmann said, reports.

Ehresmann was not ready to say flu season was declining last week because of the continued high levels of flu activity in general. In addition, deaths from the flu continue to mount. Seventy-five people have been confirmed to have died as a result of infection this season.

The H3N2 influenza virus continues to account for the majority of Minnesota's confirmed cases. The strain can be especially difficult on older patients. Eighty-nine percent of flu deaths this season have occurred in people aged 65 or older.

"We're continuing to see that trend in which this influenza season is really hitting our elder population very hard," Ehresmann said, reports.