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Flu outbreaks in Minnesota schools surge

MINNEAPOLIS -- More than 200 Minnesota schools reported outbreaks of flu-like illnesses the first full week of October, an increase of 90 schools over the week before.

The weekly update of flu statistics from the state Health Department shows the swine flu continues to spread throughout the state ahead of the general availability of the vaccine.

The department says 215 schools reported outbreaks of flu-like illnesses from Oct. 4 to Oct. 10, up 72 percent from the 125 schools that reported outbreaks the previous week.

The department defines a school outbreak as when more than 5 percent of all students, or three or more students from an elementary classroom, are out with flu-like illness.

As of Oct. 10, 685 people had been hospitalized in Minnesota with confirmed cases of swine flu and seven died.