Four more flu-related deaths were confirmed in Minnesota last week, up from two the previous week, as a season that has claimed 194 lives drags on.
Four people were hospitalized with flu symptoms last week, down from about 600 per week in mid-January, the Minnesota Department of Health said Thursday in its weekly influenza update. There were no outbreaks in nursing homes and one reported in a school.
Statistics in the weekly Health Department reports may represent events from previous weeks that took some time to verify.
Flu season usually peaks around January or February, but can start as early as October — as it did this season — and linger into May, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Health officials have urged Minnesotans to get a flu shot to contain further spread of the virus and prevent serious illness. Flu symptoms include fever, dry cough, sore throat, headache, extreme fatigue, stuffy nose and body aches. Most cases pass in a few days, but flu can lead to serious respiratory problems.
Jeff Hargarten is a University of Minnesota student reporter on assignment for the Star Tribune.