Influenza activity increased dramatically in the past week and is now considered widespread in Montana.
The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services reports 332 new cases — an increase of 50% over the week before.
Gallatin County led with the largest number of new cases at 64 followed by Cascade County with 49 news cases and Ravalli County with 41 new flu cases.
Influenza is a respiratory illness and symptoms include headaches, fever, body aches, coughing and a sore throat.
“We really want people to be immunized,” said Kim Bailey, communicable disease program manager and a registered nurse at RiverStone Health.
“Certainly if people have signs or symptoms and they become pretty ill, then they should go into their provider and they should go early. Our message is always prevention, so get your flu shot, cover your cough, stay home if you’re sick, wash your hands.”
There have been 978 cases of the flu in 44 counties this flu season, with 58 hospitalizations and two deaths, including a child in Missoula.