MTPR

Missoula City-County Health Department

Water faucet.
(PD)

A warning for water customers in the Wye Area west of Missoula not to consume drinking water was lifted Friday.

Wye Area Water System determined during a routine monthly test that a water storage tank was illegally accessed and could have had unknown contaminants.

This graph illustrates the number of pertussis cases reported to CDC from 1922 to 2017. Following the introduction of pertussis vaccines in the 1940s when case counts frequently exceeded 100,000 cases per year, reports declined dramatically to fewer than
Centers For Disease Control (PD)

Whooping cough continues to be a problem in Missoula County, but local health officials think the worst may finally be behind them.

As of Tuesday, a total of 141 whooping cough – also known as pertussis – cases have been reported in Missoula County since the outbreak started back in mid-April.

Health officials have now confirmed 92 whooping cough cases in the Missoula area.
iStock.

Health officials have now confirmed 92 whooping cough cases in the Missoula area.

"This is definitely the biggest outbreak that I have seen in my decade plus of working in public health," says Cindy Farr, Missoula City-County Health Department Infectious Disease Office supervisor.

Pertussis progression.
Centers For Disease Control (PD)

Missoula County health officials are investigating an outbreak of whooping cough that has sickened at least six Missoulians. Local health officials have identified hundreds more who may have been exposed to the contagious respiratory disease.

A plane flies over the Rice Ridge Fire near Seeley Lake, MT, August 8, 2017.
Inciweb

Since before the smoke from the Rice Ridge Fire cleared in 2017, a team of University of Montana researchers have been tracking lung health of local residents.

They presented their early findings to the Seeley Lake Community Council for the first time Monday night.

NOAA forecast of near-surface smoke for July 9, 2018.
NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory

Smoke visible in the Missoula area Monday dropped the air quality to "moderate." The smoke is likely coming from the Klamathon Fire in California.

Sarah Coefield of Missoula City-County Health Department said the fire is burning about 35,000 acres near the California/Oregon border.

Smoke covers the northwest on Sept. 4 2017.
NOAA

For most Montanans, wildfire smoke is ‘out of sight, out of mind’. It’s been almost a year since smoke pollution filled Missoula County, turning the air yellow and creating a public health crisis for residents. But one air quality expert is urging people to start preparing for the smoke before wildfire season arrives.

As dense smoke from regional wildfires spread through communities across western Montana last summer, public health agencies faced an indoor problem, too: Residents suddenly needed filters to clean the air inside homes and public spaces, but there was no obvious funding source to pay for it.

Ellen Leahy, the health officer in charge of the Missoula City-County Health Department, says in the past, when wildfire smoke polluted the air outside, nobody really talked about air filters.

Amy Cilimburg, the director of Climate Smart Missoula, helped Seeley Lake residents Joy and Don Dunagan get a HEPA air filter through a partnership with the Missoula City-County Health Department.
Nora Saks

This past wildfire season, unprecedented amounts of wildfire smoke in communities across western Montana threw public health agencies a curveball.

Yesterday, we dove into what we know and are still learning about the long term health impacts of exposure to wildfire smoke. Today, we’re looking at what it would take to provide filtered air to the most vulnerable Montanans.

Widlfire smoke fills the sky in Seeley Lake August  7, 2017.
Eric Whitney

This summer, Missoula County had its worst wildfire smoke season on record. It’s unclear how exactly that impacted the health of county residents, both as the fires were burning and longer term, but researchers are starting to pull in some data.

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