Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

First cases of the flu confirmed in Yellowstone County

influenza test CDC.tif
James Gathany
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
A CDC scientist uses a multichannel pipette to perform a hemagglutinin inhibition (HI) test. Scientists use the HI test to antigenically characterize circulating seasonal influenza viruses.

After a year-long absence, influenza has returned to Yellowstone County.

RiverStone Health on Tuesday reported the season’s first confirmed flu cases in the county. A woman in her 40s and a young child — the two aren't related — tested positive for influenza A this week. Neither has been hospitalized.

"The lab confirmation of two flu cases is a signal that everyone in our community needs to take precautions,” Yellowstone County health officer John Felton said in a statement.

The Montana Department of Health and Human Services reports there have been 48 cases of flu confirmed statewide.

Last fall and winter Montana registered zero lab-confirmed cases of flu and fewer than 2,000 cases were reported nationwide. RiverStone Health attributes that to the restrictions on public gatherings and other measures that were in place last year to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Kay Erickson has been working in broadcasting in Billings for more than 20 years. She spent well over a decade as news assignment editor at KTVQ-TV before joining the staff at YPR. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a degree in broadcast journalism. Shortly after graduation she worked in Great Falls where she was one of the first female sports anchor and reporter in Montana.