While January is "influenza season in Minnesota," a Roseville school administrator said she doesn't believe this year's flu outbreak is extraordinary.
In response to a Patch inquiry, District 623 issued this statement from Chris Sonenblum, director of student services.
"The number of reported cases of influenza in schools reflects the cases in the community. Our experience in District 623 during 2012-2013 is typical in terms of both reported cases and student absences.
We report to MDH (Minnesota Department of Health) only the first time the ten percent threshold is met in a school or classroom, however, the nurses do not interpret this year’s data as indicative of an epidemic.
"There is no reason to believe that this is an extraordinary year or to speculate that numbers will rise in the coming weeks.
Sonenblum's statement comes two weeks after Patch reported that two schools in Roseville District 623 have had enough cases of students sick with influenza this week to report that information to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
On Jan. 8, "Emmet D. Williams Elementary met the threshold to report ILI (influenza-like-illness) to MDH in a third-grade grade classroom," according to a District 623 spokeswoman. Also, Brimhall Elementary met the reporting threshold on Tuesday in a fourth-grade classroom, said Kathy Englund.
Just week ago, MHD reported the influenza outbreak of 2012-13 has now killed 60 Minnesotans and hospitalized 1,842.
The total number of deaths is now nearly as high as that of the swine flu outbreak of 2009-10, which killed 67 Minnesotans. The number of flu-related hospitalizations actually exceeds the total of 2009-10.