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First Pediatric Influenza Death For 2023-24 Confirmed

The Department of Public Health and Human Services reported on Jan. 9, the untimely death of a Big Horn County resident under the age of 18 years due to influenza.

DPHHS confirms that this is the 11th influenza-related death in Montana, as of Jan. 5 and the first pediatric death of the 2023-2024 season.

In Montana, the last flu-related pediatric death occurred during the 2022-2023 influenza season when one person under the age of 18 died.

Montana is currently experiencing widespread influenza activity with cases and outbreaks reported in 49 of the 56 counties (88 percent).

Montana reported 5,759 confirmed cases of influenza and 304 influenza-related hospitalizations between Oct. 1 and Dec. 30, 2023. Current data for influenza can be found on the new Montana Influenza Dashboard available at publichealth/cdepi/diseases/ influenza/index.

COVID-19 is also circulating widely in the state. Between Oct. 1 and Dec. 30, 2023, 9,094 COVID-19 cases have been reported, including 530 hospitalizations and 55 deaths. Montanans of all age groups have been getting ill due to COVID-19; however, individuals over the age of 60 years have higher rates of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19.

The number of people ill due to respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus continues to increase across the state. DPHHS has launched an online dashboard with current data for each condition. Visit https:// cdepi/diseases/Pan-RespiratoryDashboard to view the latest information.

Vaccination remains the best form of protection against serious outcomes of these diseases, such as hospitalization or death due to infection. Older adults, infants and persons with weakened immune systems and other chronic conditions (e.g., diabetes, heart disease) are at greatest risk for hospitalization and death due to infection, but healthy children and adults can still experience severe disease.

Vaccines are available for COVID-19, influenza, pneumococcal pneumonia and RSV. To find vaccine locations, visit, or contact your local health department or health care provider.

Updated COVID-19 vaccines are available for Montanans ages six months and older.

Several flu vaccines are available for Montanans ages 6 months and older. One dose offers protection for the full season.

Pneumococcal vaccines help protect against a deadly form of bacterial pneumonia, which is the most serious form of pneumococcal disease. Older persons and those with chronic conditions (e.g., diabetes, existing lung disease) are at higher risk for contracting this disease and experiencing serious health outcomes.

Adults 60 years and older are eligible to receive RSV vaccines after discussion with their health care provider.

Infants and young children under 24 months old may be eligible to receive a monoclonal antibody product that offers protection from severe RSV infection.

Montanans are encouraged to consult with a health care provider to determine their recommended vaccine options heading into this respiratory season.

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