Flu season stars early in Montana

Montana public health experts recently said that flu season in the state could be getting an early start.

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services confirmed four cases of influenza in Yellowstone and Park counties. Last year, the state's first flu cases were not seen until November, according to KXLY.com.

The public health agency has since recommended that everyone older than six months receive the seasonal flu vaccine.

Agency Director Anna Whiting Sorrell reminded the public that those who were vaccinated last year need to be vaccinated again this year. Two of the three components of the vaccine have been replaced to protect against the strains believe to be more prevalent this year.

In response to the recent cases and the upcoming flu season, the department is urging people with chronic medical conditions, children and senior citizens to be vaccinated as soon as possible.

RiverStone Health, the public health agency in Yellowstone County, announced that it has received its supply of the vaccine and anticipates that it will administer the shot to approximately 4,000 people. The agency plans to hold flu clinics as soon as possible, which will be earlier than it has in past years, according to Missoulian.com.