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A tamer flu season?

The flu is here.

Influenza cases diagnosed by medical professionals continue to increase statewide, but it’s been mild compared to last year.

0 Talk about it

According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), during the week ending January 4, 2014, surveillance indicators showed widespread cases of influenza.

Statewide, there were 144 influenza-related hospitalizations reported the first week in January; there were seven hospitalizations reported during that time in West Central Minnesota.

That’s a sharp contrast to the same week last year when there were 612 hospitalizations.

Since the start of the influenza season, there have been no pediatric (younger than 18 years of age) influenza-related deaths identified.

Influenza A (H1N1) has been the most commonly identified strain in Minnesota so far this season, according to MDH.

WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY At this time, Douglas County Hospital isn’t implementing any flu precautions.

Sandy Massman, a clinical director at DCH, noted the hospital has had fewer than 10 patients so far this season admitted specifically for influenza.

Angie Thoennes, also a clinical director at DCH, added that they have experienced a light influenza season so far, which is welcomed compared to last year’s high number of cases.

Local health care facilities offer masks and hand sanitizer for visitors and patients to use.

Doreen Hanson, public health nurse for Douglas County Public Health, said local clinics still have flu vaccine supplies available.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

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