MISSOULA – The number of flu cases in Montana has spiked over the last two weeks.
The late December and early January spike is consistent with previous flu seasons and is greatly contributed to by travel and increased exposure to others during the holiday season.
The last week of December alone saw 131 new influenza cases reported across the state, bringing the total to 274 cases this season, including 19 hospitalizations, and two deaths.
The good news is that this year’s influenza an H1N1 strain isn’t nearly as dangerous as last season’s predominant H3N2 strain.
Missoula City-County Health Department Infectious Disease Specialist Pam Whitney says this season’s flu vaccine has been a lot more effective.
“H1N1 is a lot easier, so I think that’s why we’re seeing our numbers aren’t nearly as bad as they were last year, but what I’m seeing is that people that are hospitalized did not get the vaccine so that’s why they’re getting sick,” Whitney said.
She told MTN News that she expects the number of cases will continue to spike over the next two to three weeks.
Click here to view the latest Montana flu activity report.
-Russ Thomas reporting for MTN News