Flu outbreak at cluster of long-term care facilitiesby Lorna Benson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Health has confirmed a cluster of influenza cases at long-term care facility in the Twin Cities metro area.
The agency says it's too early to say whether the three cases mark the beginning of the flu season or just a sporadic flu outbreak.
Vaccination expert Kris Ehresmann says all three cases involved the H3N2 flu strain, which has been circulating at low levels in the U.S. this summer.
"It's a little bit late to be a sporadic summer case. It's a little bit early to be the first case for the season. We really weren't quite sure what it signified," she said. "But we thought there's adequate vaccine and so this is a good reminder to let people know that we've got plenty of vaccine, so take advantage and be vaccinated."
Some pharmacy retailers and clinics have had flu vaccine doses available for several weeks. This year's flu vaccine includes protection against the H3N2 strain. The doses also contain protection against H1N1 pandemic flu and a B-strain of influenza.
The Health Department is encouraging everyone 6 months of age and older to get vaccinated against flu this year.