ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Minnesota health officials say an outbreak of early flu strains has contributed to the deaths of six people.

There were 60 cases of flu-like illness reported to the state last week. That’s a five-fold increase from the week before.

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The Department of Health says the flu continues to spread statewide, with cases reported in every region.

It has hit children particularly hard.

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They have a a higher than usual share of the 262 flu-related hospitalizations reported so far this season, although none of the deaths involved children.

Health officials say some schools are missing as many as one-fifth of their students.

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