The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services reports that at the end of the first week of January, 425 new cases were reported in 38 counties, and all but three counties have verified at least one case of influenza. Altogether, 1,441 cases have been confirmed and 239 people have been hospitalized, including 47 in the most recent report.
Overall, 12 people have died from influenza, most of them elderly.
Kim Bailey, communicable disease program manager for RiverStone Health in Billings says the numbers of those who contract the flu are probably much higher because many people don’t go to the doctor when they get sick.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says this year’s immunization is about 30 percent effective.