Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Longford people in flu risk group are urged to get vaccinated

The flu vaccine is drawn from the vile into the needle at Crawford Kids Clinic in Aurora Colorado The flu vaccine is drawn from the vile into the needle at Crawford Kids Clinic in Aurora Colorado. Brent Lewis—Denver Post via Getty Images
Celia Hoffman | 09 January, 2019, 03:39

"This year's vaccine is a good match for circulating strains and it is not too late to get the vaccine".

But it is understood that the number of cases has not been as widespread as previous years.

As of December 29, the most recent data available from the Public Health Agency of Canada shows there were 13,796 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases across the country, with the provinces and territories reporting 1,046 hospitalizations and 24 deaths.

Those in at-risk groups include people aged 65 and old, pregnant women and people with chronic diseases.

There have been high rates of children hospitalized across the country this year. According to the hospital's press release, the ban will take effect on Wednesday and last "for the remainder of this flu season". (Lab-confirmed cases represent a small percentage of all flu cases, often just the ones that require hospitalization).

Last season at that point, 11,275 cases of lab-confirmed flu had been reported.

Still, respiratory viruses of all kinds have been keeping CHEO busy with the emergency department seeing very high volumes and inpatient units at more than 100 per cent.

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The viruses circulating this year are another reason for the milder season.

Canada-wide, 414 children have been hospitalized with the flu, the vast majority the H1N1 strain of influenza A, which tends to hit children hardest. The flu has resulted in up to five deaths of children across the country.

The flu season is far from over though.

Ottawa Public Health offers flu shots, by appointment, for children under five (613 580-6744).

"While most people will get better themselves from flu, anyone who is concerned about their condition should telephone their GP or an out of hours medical service so they can arrange to be treated in a way that does not put others at risk", he explained.

It's been less severe so far this year, but federal health officials say they're now seeing sharp increases in flu activity nationwide.

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