H1N1 sends more than 150 Montanans to the hospital

Saturday, January 18, 2014
By Paul Martin

By Grace Ditzler
Jan 17 2014

BOZEMAN, Mont. –
The number of flu-related deaths in Montana climbed to three, and the State Department of Health and Human Services now says Montana is experiencing widespread flu activity across the state.

Since Oct. 1, Montana recorded nearly 1,900 cases. The majority have been linked to H1N1, the same strain responsible for the 2009 flu pandemic.

Gallatin County saw 40 new cases last week, bringing the total number for the season to 278.

Butte-Silver Bow has not been hit nearly as hard, with just 11 cases reported last week and a total of 43 for the season.

The Gallatin City County Health Department explained this flu season is different. The virus always hits some people hard, but this year it’s young adults — a group that the virus doesn’t usually target.

“Influenza season is a little bit like skiing in the backcountry,” said Gallatin County Health Officer Matt Kelley. “You think you know where you’re going when you start out, but you can end up some place totally different.”

Kelley explained the H1N1 strain is attacking people between the ages of 18 and 65 the most.

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