Flu Outbreak Claims Life of 14 Year old Girl

By KBJR News 1

January 9, 2013 Updated Jan 9, 2013 at 6:51 PM CST

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- This season's severe flu outbreak has claimed the life of a Minnesota teenager, raising the number of deaths related to the flu to five in the state.

Twin Cities high school student, 14–year–old Carly Christenson, died from complications from the flu on Monday. Christenson was hospitalized for several days prior to her death.

Health officials report Christenson had gotten a flu shot, but it's unclear whether she was dealing with other health problems that may have weakened her system.

St. Louis Park school officials say that Christenson's death has shaken their students.

"We're kind of dealing with the shock right now and having students just have a place where they can kind of meet with somebody either a counselor or friend," says Assistant Principal Scott Meyers.

As of last week, Minnesota has seen 578 confirmed cases of the flu. The Minnesota Department of Health says Christenson is the fifth official flu–related death this season, but that number is expected to rise when official numbers are released on Thursday.

Earlier this week, Essentia Health in Duluth announced a surge in flu cases in the Northland, reporting that seven people were being hospitalized with influenza and several others are being kept at the hospital waiting on test results.

Essentia has now set up a walk-in flu booth to meet the recent demand for the flu vaccine.

Flu shots will be available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 11, Thursday, Jan. 17, and Friday, Jan. 18, in the lobby of the Essentia Health-Duluth Clinic First Street Building, 420 East First Street No appointment is needed.

Across the country, many hospitals have started setting up outside tents to handle patient overflow and some are even starting to turn people away because they have reached capacity due to the severity of this year's flu season.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the flu season has not even reached its peak yet.

Health experts are urging that since this year's vaccine is a good match for the circulating flu strain that everyone get a flu shot.

Posted to the web by Krista Burns