Seven more flu-related deaths were confirmed in Minnesota last week, up from four the previous week, but other indicators of flu activity suggest that this season’s outbreak continues to wane since peaking in January.
The number of people hospitalized with flu symptoms last week was 37, down from roughly 600 per week in mid-January, the Minnesota Department of Health said in its weekly influenza update. Only two schools and one nursing home reported flu outbreaks.
The current flu season has claimed 176 lives since October, making it the deadliest outbreak in recent years.
Health Department spokesman Doug Schultz said it’s difficult to draw broad conclusions from the weekly updates because the numbers may represent events from previous weeks that took some time to verify.
Health officials still urge Minnesotans to get a flu shot; the vaccine can prevent a serious illness and helps to contain further spread of the virus.
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.