MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — This year is truly a different type of year for flu season.
“What’s interesting about this year is right now the prominent strain is influenza B. While we do see influenza B every year, it’s not usually this high in numbers,” explained Karen Martin, senior epidemiologist at the Minnesota Department of Health.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, influenza activity is widespread throughout the state.
In total, Mayo Clinic Health System facilities throughout southern Minnesota have seen 294 flu cases, with 142 of those being from Mankato.
Of those 142 Mankato cases, 7 patients have had to go to the hospital.
“While we see a lot of school outbreaks, we are seeing relatively few long-term care facility outbreaks. That could be because of the influenza B not quite hitting the elderly quite as hard although they still, of course, can get sick,” Martin added.
Here in the KEYC viewing region, there have been two school outbreaks in Nicollet County and a confirmed outbreak in Brown County.
Once someone you're around quite a bit contracts any kind of flu strain, it can sweep through a house quickly, infecting everyone near.
“Self-isolate. That means skipping out on that New Year’s Eve Party, staying home from work if you need to and staying away from family members even those in the house if you can isolate and stay away from them," Mayo Clinic Health System Physician Jennifer Johnson said.
If many you know are starting to feel ill or under the weather, one precaution will still help far more than anything else for at least a couple more months.
“It’s never too late to get the influenza vaccine,” Johnson stated.
Officials remind the public that we are just at the beginning of the flu season.
Because the major strain right now is influenza B, a significant uptick of influenza A is expected by seasons end around March.