By KAITLYN NICHOLAS/Montana State News

Over 120 flu cases have been reported within Gallatin County alone in the past month. Four of these patients required hospitalization, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cascade County reports nearly 130 patients have also contracted the disease.

In the past two weeks, 93 cases of the flu were diagnosed in Gallatin County, an indication that the flu season is in full swing. The CDC reported two additional strains of influenza had also appeared in the region.

According to the CDC, a strand of swine flu has infected many residents of Central Montana. The strain is the same as the 2009 variety of the H1N1 virus. Health officials urge all residents to get the current flu vaccine. Vaccines from last year or 2009 will not protect against H1N1.

The CDC said that one case of bird flu had been treated in Canada. The H5H1 virus is considered an endemic in China, and has only been found in poultry up to this point. The infected citizen reportedly caught the disease while visiting Beijing and died after returning to Canada. However, the CDC said this as an isolated case.

Fevers, headaches, aching muscles, coughing, and sudden pain are all symptoms of the flu. People who suspect they are infected are encouraged to drink lots of fluids, sleep, and take decongestants. Should the symptoms become serious, sick individuals should go to the nearest hospital or health center.

For additional information regarding influenza and treatment procedures visit the Gallatin City-County Health Department on their website at healthygallatin.org.

– Edited by Scott Phelan

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