Effective Tuesday, January 8, visitor restrictions at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital are in effect due to the influenza virus.

Children under the age of 18 are asked not to visit the hospital, as they are most susceptible to this virus. Children are, however, allowed in physician clinics on the Highland Health Park/Bozeman Deaconess medical campus.

Influenza is highly transmittable and a major cause of acute bronchitis and pneumonia. It is transmitted through contact with infected respiratory secretions, usually by way of the hands. Strict hand washing is the most important method of prevention.

The restrictions will continue to help control the spread of influenza in the hospital. Those who have symptoms of upper respiratory infection, cough or fever should not visit the hospital, and hospital employees will ask visitors with such symptoms to leave.

The hospital appreciates the public's cooperation and understanding, and will inform the public when the visitor restrictions are lifted.

Please check the Bozeman Deaconess website at www.bozemandeaconess.org for updates.