According to the Montana Department of Health and Human Services, there have been 1,486 reported influenza cases in the state in 2019. There have been 75 hospitalizations and two deaths due to influenza. Missoula City County Health Department Infectious Disease Specialist Brad Applegate says Missoula numbers are high, but that is not uncommon.

“Right now, we are fairly consistent with the last couple of years,” Applegate said. “This is not an unusual number to be at. Last week we reported something in the 80s and I think this week we reported 55 cases in the county. I think that now would be a great time if you haven’t, to still consider getting your flu shot. I think we have some time to go before we are completely out of the woodwork on this.”

Applegate says vaccines are extensively researched before they are allowed to be used on the market.

“They need to be approved by the FDA,” Applegate said. “They need to have extensive clinical trial data. I believe in the scientific process behind testing the vaccines for safety and effectiveness. If a vaccine is able to prevent a disease that could potentially harm someone, I am all in favor of it.”

As of January 26, 2019, Missoula reported 205 influenza cases, which is the most in the state. Here is the latest influenza report from the DPHHS.