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Montana Flu Season Spike Results in One Death, More than 100 Hospitalized

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Photo courtesy of alex@faraway/Flickr

The Montana Department of Health and Human Services is reporting that a Hill County resident has died from influenza associated causes and many more Montanans have been hospitalized.

“Essentially we’ve had one death documented,” said Montana DPHHS State Communicable Disease Epidemiologist Karl Milhon. “Information is preliminary at this point because it is coming into us pretty hot and heavy right now. The thing about it is, since October 1, we’ve had 101 hospitalizations reported, and over half of those have been in the last two weeks.”

The H1N1 flu virus is the primary culprit this year, but Milhon says the season is unlikely to be as bad as the first attack of H1N1 in 2009 because the vaccine for the disease is readily available. It is difficult to say how the 2013-14 season will compare to the 2012-13 season.

“We have seen a sharp spike in reported influenza-like illnesses from our surveillance partners who report that information,” Milhon said. We have seen a sharp spike in hospitalizations over the last couple weeks. It’s really a little too early to tell, but if I wasn’t vaccinated, I would sure be getting out there and getting vaccinated right now.”

The H1N1 flu virus made a notable appearance in 2009 for having a greater impact on young and middle age populations, as opposed to just the very young and very old.

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