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HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The number of people sick with influenza in Montana is on the rise as health officials reported more than 200 new cases over the past two weeks.

The Department of Public Health and Human Services said Thursday the number of cases is up slightly compared to this time last year.

Montana’s flu season lasts from October through May and typically peaks in January.

During the 2016-2017 flu season, state officials say there were 56 flu-related deaths and more than 800 hospitalizations.

Officials say flu vaccine helps prevent infection for individuals who receive it and helps keeps others healthy by making it harder for the virus to spread.