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Flu season in full swing in Missoula County

Published On: Jan 25 2013 06:19:57 PM MST
Flu shot vaccine

According to health officials, flu season started earlier and hasn't yet hit its peak.

Ellen Leahy, R.N., M.N, the Health Officer for the Missoula County Health Department says there are more cases nationally than in years past. The number isn't shocking, but it is high enough to push the country into epidemic territory.

"We're not seeing anything that we would say is unusual yet, except it is a little earlier season,"says Leahy. "We've increased our number of cases; positive, confirmed cases by about 80% in the last week, so we were moving towards the peak. We can't say we've peaked yet, but certainly have had a lot of activity."

Missoula County is reporting 189 confirmed cases, with 27 hospitalizations through Friday, and Leahy says there is still time to get vaccinated.

"The actual viruses that we are seeing are the ones that we expected to see. Not unusual and they are in the vaccine, so you're protected to a great extent by getting that vaccine,"says Leahy.

She does caution people who are symptomatic to stay home and rest, as the flu is highly contagious.