ST. PAUL (LEARFIELD)  —  State health officials confirm the early flu season is hitting Minnesota, just like all 50 states.

Nearly 50 people were hospitalized last week alone due to flu-related illnesses.  Doctors are saying it’s the earliest start for the flu season in nearly two decades and the current strain affects mostly children.  This type of flu usually doesn’t hit until March or April.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates more than two-and-a-half-million people have been sickened nationwide, with 24-hundred dying.