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‘Town Crier’ newsletter – Briefs from the Region (2) – 1/23/19

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First flu death of season confirmed in Montana
News comes amidst Chinese virus scare

People between the ages of 0 and 4 years old, and over 65 years old are particularly vulnerable each flu season—this season, the first death has been confirmed in an individual over 65, reports KFYR-TV. So far, 1,600 people have contracted influenza in the Treasure State, with 100 needing hospitalization; nearly double the 56 flu-related hospitalizations seen this time last year. More concerning, however, is this confirmation of the Wuhan coronavirus in a Seattle man. The Jan. 21 announcement is the first of its kind, with concerns of a global epidemic mounting as the Chinese death toll rises to just shy of 20, with 509 more infected. The virus can cause coughing, fever, breathing difficulty and pneumonia, reports ABC News, and the U.S. joined a growing list of places outside mainland China with confirmed cases: Thailand, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. The confirmation has Montana health officials “not overly-concerned,” reports Montana Public Radio, with Montana health department epidemiologist Stacey Anderson telling MTPR, “I think we want to put that in context with something like influenza. Right now, we’ve had more cases of influenza and death in the United States alone than we’ve had in this (entire Wuhan coronavirus) outbreak.” Flu shots continue to be recommended by state and federal agencies.

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