Public health officials are seeing a spike in influenza cases across Montana.
Rachel Hinnenkamp with the state health department says that as of December 16, there have been 374 cases with 89 hospitalizations and six deaths.
“As of this time this year, the reported cases of influenza are slightly higher than the same time last year,” she said.
In Montana, the flu season usually peaks in January and lasts through May. However, flu outbreaks can be unpredictable. For that reason, Hinnenkamp stresses that those who have yet to get vaccinated, do so.
“It’s too early in the season to tell the effectiveness of this flu vaccine, but it will either prevent you from getting influenza disease or if it doesn’t prevent it, it can help reduce the severity of illness and can even help prevent hospitalization and death,” she said.
Last flu season, the virus caused 829 hospitalizations and 56 deaths.