Flu activity in Minnesota remains “sporadic,” the state Department of Health said Wednesday in its weekly update on the highly contagious disease.
The state recorded two new school outbreaks of influenza-like illness and three flu patients hospitalized for the week ending Nov. 19.
Thanksgiving often marks a turning point when influenza cases multiply, as families and friends gather to share food, drink — and sometimes germs.
“Large gatherings of people in confined places create opportunities for many infectious diseases to spread, including influenza,” said Karen Martin, senior epidemiologist with the Health Department. She added that flu activity “remains fairly low, which is not uncommon for this time of year.”
State health officials took the opportunity to issue their customary flu advice. They recommend that people wash their hands thoroughly and frequently, especially if they’re sick, cover their coughs and stay home if they aren’t feeling well. Martin also said it’s not too late to get a flu shot.
“Even though it takes a couple of weeks for immunity to develop after vaccination, there are many months left of the influenza season,” Martin said. “We are just getting started.”
So far this year, the Health Department has recorded nine school outbreaks and 19 patients hospitalized with the flu, but no flu-related deaths — about average for this stage of the flu season.