Minnesota records 1st flu death of season; officials urge vaccinations as influenza spreads

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota — State health officials say Minnesota has recorded its first death of the 2014 flu season.

The Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1226seS ) reports the victim was a child but was not identified Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Health officials say 18 new patients were hospitalized with flu symptoms last week, about average for this stage of the season, and eight school districts reported new flu outbreaks.

Federal health officials said Thursday that flu vaccine might be less effective than normal this year, because of a shifting composition of flu strains. But in guidance to clinics and patients, Minnesota officials said a flu shot still offers valuable protection.

Even at 60 percent effectiveness, the Health Department says flu vaccine is better than zero protection.

Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

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