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No Confirmed Flu Cases Reported Yet in Montana

2020-21 Influenza Season Activity, Week 47 ending Nov 21, 2020
U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

Despite Montana’s unchecked COVID-19 spread, as of Wednesday there’s not a single confirmed case of influenza in the state.

“And that’s great news," says Jim Murphy, chief of the Montana health department’s Communicable Disease Bureau. "We are optimistic that maybe some of the control measures that are in place for COVID are going to benefit us for influenza season too. If you think about a lot of the practices we’re doing, from hygiene, to work-at-home, to mask use and staying home when you’re sick — all of these are things we routinely advise for influenza control."

Flu in the United States usually peaks between mid-November and February.

Montana’s lack of influenza activity is consistent with what other states are reporting. According to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu activity is unusually low nationwide. No influenza-associated pediatric deaths have yet been reported. 

In Europe, only one person was diagnosed with flu from late September through mid November, according to a joint monitoring program called Flu News Europe.

Despite the encouraging news, health officials caution the public not to get too complacent. They say a flu shot remains one of the best safeguards against contracting influenza.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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