Flu Cases In Montana 'A Little Below Average' So Far This Season

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Southern Saskatchewan is seeing an outbreak of H1N1, with this season's flu strain proving deadly.

The flu is now widespread in Alabama - and it's expected to increase, federal health officials reported.

Officials say this accounts for 2,920,000 - 3,510,00 medical visits to date and 69,300 - 83,500 hospitalizations.

The weekly flu report published Friday by the Public Health Agency of Canada shows that from Dec. 30 to January 5, lab-confirmed influenza cases are down from the week prior, suggesting the flu season may have reached its peak during the last week of December.

According to the CDC an estimated 80,000 American died of flu and its complications last season - the disease's highest death toll in at least four decades. Flu usually takes off after Christmas and peaks around February.

"Last year was a very nasty flu season with a great number of hospitalizations as well as fatalities, specifically in the elderly and the very young", Roby said.

"If people have not yet had the vaccine, it's not unusual that around this time, after the holidays, we might have a little bit more influenza activity", Murti said.

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These estimates are cumulative and will be updated over the course of the annual flu season on Fridays.

Seven children have died from the flu so far this season, according to the CDC. Antiviral drugs are the second line of defense against the flu, and anyone who are ill or are have high risks for flu complications are recommended to see a health care provider early on in the illness so they can be treated with the said drugs.

Nationwide, there have been 1,562 lab-confirmed cases of flu since October 1, 2018, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One death was associated with an influenza A (H3) virus, one death was associated with an influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 virus and one death was associated with an influenza A virus for which no subtyping was performed. "If you see signs of flu we do encourage you to get evaluated soon so that you can limit its spread".

Although the vaccine isn't 100 percent effective in preventing flu, people who are vaccinated and get the flu get a much milder case, Gupta noted. This year, the season is unwrapping slower than those last year.

It's important at this point in the season to keep an eye on vaccine supplies so that each community can continue to offer the shot, she said.

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