Posted: Jan 3, 2013 10:33 AM by Laura Wilson - MTN News
KALISPELL - The influenza virus appears to be spreading in the Flathead Valley, with the number of reported cases nearly doubling this week.
People who live in Flathead County and haven't gotten their flu shots yet, are being urged by the Flathead City-County Health Department to get vaccinated soon.
The county has one of the highest numbers of influenza cases in the state this season, as over 50 local influenza cases have been recorded since last October.
Nearly half of those cases were reported this week in a one-day period, with director Joe Russell telling us that sudden surge could be attributed to a number of things - like the amount of travel in and out of the Flathead, families returning from Christmas vacations or even the weather.
Russell says it is pretty early to be seeing this many cases of the flu, especially since the peak of influenza season is still a couple of months off.
"We'll have sporadic this time of year, but our flu season is generally later than this. It's a little concerning that we're getting big numbers now. That could be big numbers come February and March, too, so these are some of the concerns. Nationwide, it's a fairly early and virulent flu season," Russell told us.
He added says the influenza is so infectious, those who haven't been vaccinated are likely to catch it if they come into contact with the virus at all. You can contact the Flathead City-County Health Department at (406) 751-8100 for more information.