ST. PAUL — Minnesota has had its first influenza death of someone younger than 18 for the flu season, the Minnesota Department of Health reported Thursday, Jan. 23.
No information is being released about the victim to protect the family's privacy, health department spokeswoman Andrea Ahneman said.
Pediatric deaths occur during every flu season but are uncommon. During the 2018-19 flu season, Minnesota had 95 flu deaths, but only one of them was someone under 18, according to health department data. So far this season, 31 people have died in Minnesota.
Flu continues to be widespread in Minnesota, according to the health department. So far, just over 1,200 people have been hospitalized for the disease statewide, including 187 in the week that ended Jan. 18. Eight people were hospitalized with influenza that week in Northeastern Minnesota, bringing the total to the season to 48.
The number of school outbreaks spiked to 113. A school outbreak is recorded when 5% of the total school enrollment is absent with an influenza-like illness or when three or more children are absent with a flu-like illness from the same classroom. It often doesn't mean an individual school or school system was closed because of the illness.
Nationally, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there have been at least 13 million flu illnesses this season, 120,000 hospitalizations and 6,600 deaths.