Minnesota Flu Season Hits Early, Hits Hard
Posted at: 01/04/2013 5:39 PM
| Updated at: 01/04/2013 6:15 PM
By: Maarja Anderson
Minnesota is among the states hardest hit so far by this year's flu season. State health officials say four people have died in Minnesota from the flu or flu-related illness, and two of those deaths happened just last week.
Health officials across the nation are preparing clinics for the early and intense flu season, and Minnesota is no exception.
"We're thinking this will probably be, with the exception of the 2009 pandemic, the most robust year for influenza in the last decade," said Dr. Linda Van Etta, infectious disease expert with St. Luke's in Duluth.
Dr. Van Etta said they've been busier than ever this season. They even set up an influenza ward in order to isolate the patients. She said part of the reason why this year seems so much worse than the past is last year's unusually quiet flu season. Adding to the issue, influenza is highly unpredictable.
"When it comes to influenza, there is so much we don't know," said Dr. Van Etta. "We don't know why one influenza season is bad and one isn't bad."
Dr. Van Etta said one easy way to try and avoid the flu is to get the flu shot, adding that it's not too late to get the vaccine for this season.