500 Minnesotans Hospitalized During Flu Outbreak

Updated: 01/09/2013 1:19 PM KSTP.com By: Naomi Pescovitz

We are still several weeks away from the usual peak of flu season and the virus has caused four deaths in Minnesota. At least 500 people have been sent to the hospital.

Forty-one states are now reporting cases, 18 children have died, and 22,000 people nationwide have been hospitalized.

"We've seen a big outbreak the last few weeks. It's been much more intense than the last couple years. I've seen lots of people with flu like symptoms, much more than we've seen previously," said Dr. John Barsanti, with Entira Family Clinics.

Some Twin Cities clinics are starting to run low on the flu shot, though the Minnesota Department of Health says there is no shortage of the vaccine.

"Our clinics for example are running low, some of our clinics don't have any but it's still a benefit to get," Barsanti said.

This year, Influenza A is impacting the most people and some doctors are comparing the season the 2009 H1N1 outbreak.

"The strain appears to match what's in the flu shot but the flu shot isn't protecting as well as we would like," Barsanti said.