Influenza spreading throughout MinnesotaPublished 10:56am Monday, January 7, 2013
The flu season started earlier than usual and it’s packing quite a punch, with hundreds of Minnesotans hospitalized in recent weeks for symptoms ranging from a fever to a sore throat, body aches and extreme tiredness.
According to Isaac Triebold, the West Central Epidemiologist based in Fergus Falls, a couple of factors may make this flu season seem worse than previous years.
“We saw flu cases in October this year when normally they would be more common in January and February,” said Triebold. “The type is influenza A strain of H3, which tends to affect the elderly a little harder.”
Triebold says while a longer flu season and the type of flu may make for a worse year, there is good news.
“The type of flu is a very good match for the vaccine,” said Triebold. “Vaccinations are still available, and it is a good idea to get one.”
Robyn Funk, lab manager at Avera Worthington Specialty Clinic, said cases of both Influenza A and Influenza B have been diagnosed in patients locally. The Influenza A is the more severe strain.
“It was right around Christmas,” she said of the first diagnosed cases of the flu locally. “We had our first positives the day before Christmas and the day after.”