The Montana Department of Health and Human Services continues to monitor the number of influenza cases around the state this season. Vaccine Preventable Disease Epidemiologist Stacey Anderson gives us the number of cases reported as of March 2, 2019.

“Season to date, 8,239 cases have been reported to us throughout the state,” Anderson said. “That includes 443 hospitalizations and 12 deaths.”

According to Anderson, flu numbers are down this year compared to last year.

“Last year, as you remember, was pretty sever not just in Montana, but across the United States,” Anderson said. “Season totals for last year were over 10,000 cases, 979 hospitalizations, and 79 deaths.”

Anderson expects to see a decline in the number of flu cases in the coming weeks.

“We also tend to see a shift in types of influenza that is diagnosed from type A to type B,” Anderson said. “When we see more cases, or that increase in type B show up, we know that is sort of a sign that the season is starting to wind down because that typically shows up in the spring.”

Anderson says Missoula is ranked near the top in terms of reported flu cases, but she says a lot of that has to do with our large population.