Influenza B Outbreak Impacts Students, Schools
The Minnesota Department of Health says it’s been an unusual flu season. Health experts are seeing a big wave of flu-like illnesses earlier than normal.
Just before winter break, 167 schools around the state reported flu-like illnesses. That compares to 60 outbreaks the previous week.
Health officials say they typically see Type A influenza as the dominant strain. This time, however, Type B is the dominant strain. That hasn’t happened since the early 1990s, officials saidl.
“When influenza B is the dominant virus that circulates, we tend to see more disease in children and young adults,” said Kristen Ehresmann with the Minnesota Department of Health. “So that’s exactly what’s playing out with the outbreaks. We’ve had quite a few outbreaks in the school setting, but in contrast last week we only had one outbreak in long-term care facilities.”
The Minnesota Department of Health has recorded seven flu-related deaths so far this season, all of them adults.
While the virus is widespread, health officials say it isn’t too late to get a flu shot.