(Mankato, MN) – The flu season in the Upper Midwest is already starting and some indications point to this year being worse than normal.
In Wisconsin, there have been 19 confirmed cases of influenza so far this month. Eight of those people were hospitalized.
There have also been positive cases and hospitalizations in Minnesota and in Iowa, and Iowa Health Department Medical Director Patricia Quinlisk says this season could be a severe one, based on what’s happening in the southern hemisphere.
“One of the things that we are seeing from places like Australia and New Zealand is that they had a really bad flu year. A lot of people got sick and a lot of people were hospitalized. And that often will predict that we will also have a bad flu year,” said Quinlisk.
With the early onset, health officials are recommending flu shots sooner rather than later and some clinics are already on the schedule in Mankato.
The Mayo Clinic Health System will hold flu vaccine clinics at the River Hills Mall Community Room during following dates and times:
- Tuesday, Sept. 26, 3:30–7 p.m.
- Saturday, Sept. 30, 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
- Thursday, Oct. 5, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
- Saturday, Oct. 7, 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
- Tuesday, Oct. 10, 3:30–7 p.m.
People interested in getting their flu shot at these clinics are encouraged to call and schedule an appointment at 507-594-4700. Walk-ins will also be welcome.
For those who don’t have health insurance, a flu shot clinic will be held on October 12th from 12p-4p at the Open Door Health Center in Mankato. At this clinic, Walgreens will be administering no-cost flu shots for all those who qualify for a voucher on a first-come, first-served basis, while supplies last.
The Minnesota Department of Health will begin its annual flu surveillance for the season starting on October 1st.
(Copyright © 2017 Southern Minnesota News – Alpha Media Mankato. The Associated Press and RadioIowa contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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