A recent report from the CDC tries to predict the next HIV outbreak and, to the surprise of nearly all local officials, lists two rural Montana counties. Mineral County and Treasure County are listed and are the only counties listed in a huge span of the west including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and the Dakotas. Chief of the Montana Communicable Disease Bureau Jim Murphy says his office was “perplexed” by the findings and did some extra research after the report.

"We looked at these two counties," Murphy said. "We looked at the last four or five years worth of data and tired to find if there was any indication of active transmission of HIV, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C, these are things that would be spread through injected drug use, and we found no cases of recent HIV, Hep C or Hep B.

Murphy says he’s concerned about an HIV outbreak in two of Montana’s more urban counties.

"When we look at risk in Montana, we definitely are concerned about some of our larger urban areas," Murphy said. "We have had cases in small clusters of HIV. We've had small clusters of Hepatitis B. Most of these have been around our larger counties: Missoula County has had clusters of HIV in the past, Cascade county had the outbreak of Hepatitis B, which was injected drug use related."

Murphy says the study likely “needs more work” and that it did not lead to a program change or shift in funding for Mineral or Treasure County.

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