Six people dead from flu this year
The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services says six Montanans have died from flu-related illnesses this year.
Three of those have occurred in Flathead County.In 2016 Montana had 33 deaths attributed to flu.
Flathead and Lewis and Clark counties had the highest number of new cases during the last week of January this year. During that time, Flathead County saw the sharpest increase with 134 flu cases reported, bringing the county’s total up to 374 so far this season, which began Oct. 2, 2016.
Lewis and Clark County saw 127 new cases, bringing the total for the season up to 442 — the highest in the state.
The state health department reported flu cases have continued to rise across Montana with 874 new cases reported between Jan. 22 and 28. Since October, health department officials have reported 3,318 cases and 369 influenza-associated hospitalizations throughout Montana. The age group most affected is those older than 65.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the virus is now widespread in 40 states.
The center has reported that while numbers of people infected by the virus have continued to increase, this year’s vaccine appears to be a good match for this season.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older to help prevent influenza illness. It also recommends prompt treatment with flu antiviral drugs for people at high risk of serious flu complications who develop flu symptoms and all people who are seriously ill from flu.