Flu death: 14-year-old girl identifiedby Matt Sepic, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The fifth person to die of the flu this season in Minnesota was a 14-year-old girl.
The Minnesota Department of Health confirmed the teen's death.
Westwood Lutheran Church in St. Louis Park, where the girl's family worships, says on its website that Carly Christensen died Tuesday afternoon with her family by her side. A memorial service is set for Wednesday night.
Christensen was a ninth-grader at St. Louis Park High School. She was healthy otherwise, but was hospitalized Christmas Eve. A message on the high school's website also noted the girl's death and said that in response, counselors, social workers, and other staff were being made available to students.
Since the start of the flu season this year, nearly 600 people have been hospitalized for laboratory-confirmed flu.
The first flu-related death of the season in Minnesota was a man in his 60s who had underlying health problems. The most recent flu-related death before Christensen was that of a 17-year old boy from Texas, who died at a St. Paul hospital after visiting relatives in the area.
The Minnesota Department of Health has reported a spike in flu hospitalizations. Health officials say the current vaccine is well-matched to the circulating strains of flu. The vaccine is not 100 percent effective for everyone who gets it, but the Health Department says it is the best defense available against the flu.