There is still widespread influenza activity across Montana, but over the last week the numbers of reports are starting to decline. Communicable Disease Epidemiologist Stacey Anderson says the main influenza strain that is predominating this year is influenza AH3.

“That particular subtype of influenza A is known for being a little more severe, especially for folks who are older than age 65,” said Anderson. “We tend to have more cases, more hospitalizations, and more deaths when we have a year where H3 is circulating.”

According to Anderson, this season is about what they expected for an influenza AH3 year.

“In terms of reported cases we are just shy of 5,000 for the season,” Anderson said. “We have had just under 500 Montanans hospitalized due to flu and 10 deaths related to influenza. Two years ago we had about 600 hospitalizations and 24 deaths. The groups that were affected are very similar to what we are seeing this year.”

Anderson advocates that it is never too late to get a flu vaccine and that influenza B will become more predominate come spring time.