No confirmed influenza cases in Montana so far

BOZEMAN, Mont.- The state of Montana reports a quiet flu season so far as there have been zero confirmed influenza cases.

A large reason for the relatively calm flu season is the “new normal” of COVID-19 social distancing and mask wearing.

At this time last year there were about 400 cases of the flu compared to the zero diagnosed cases on Jan. 16, 2021.

Tracy Knoedler, the human services director of the Gallatin City-County Health Department said we aren’t out of the woods just yet.

According to Tracy Knoedler, the human services director of the Gallatin City-County Health Department, COVID-19 and the influenza virus are spread in the similar ways of water droplets from coughing and sneezing.

Early warnings from medical professionals to get your flu shot this year more than ever during the coronavirus pandemic certainly helped as well.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the seasonal flu shot protects against the three or four influenza viruses that research suggests may be most common during the upcoming season.

Knoedler emphasized that the state is still not out of the woods yet when it comes to the flu and said it’s possible for a possible harsh rebound of the flu later in the season or even next year.

“It’s always possible, it’s completely unpredictable, we try our best to predict but it has the ability to definitely surprise us… We just want to continue to encourage people to get their flu shot, wash their hands, and cover their mouth and nose when they cough or sneeze because those are the biggest things we can do to prevent the spread of either COVID or the flu,” Knoedler stressed.

The state of Montana’s influenza report can be found here.

The CDC’s weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report can be found here.

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