- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 8, 2014

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) - State health officials say influenza has arrived in Montana.

Department of Public Health and Human Services spokesman Jon Ebelt tells the Great Falls Tribune (https://gftrib.com/1vRnOpZ ) the case was confirmed in a Cascade County resident.

Montana had 832 laboratory-confirmed cases of the flu last winter and a total of about 3,200 reported cases. Health officials say many more cases go unreported. Just over 300 people were hospitalized and state officials say the deaths of eight Montanans were directly attributed to influenza.

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness that usually comes on suddenly and may include a fever, headache, fatigue, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and muscle aches.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevent recommends flu shots for anyone over six months of age. They can take up to two weeks to provide full protection.

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