March 18, 2018

25 flu deaths in Calgary already exceeds last season's total

24 February 2018, 06:49 | Darrell Baldwin

WBTV graphic

WBTV graphic

Although activity has decreased, federal health officials say they expect the current season to last for several more weeks, potentially into April.

AHS influenza immunization clinics, most pharmacies, and physician offices will be providing the flu shot for no cost to all Albertans six months of age or older until the end of March. Young children, pregnant women, people 65 years of age or older, and people with chronic medical conditions are at greatest risk of developing more serious flu complications, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus infections.

As in past winter flu seasons, about three-quarters of children who have died were not fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.

The Washington Post reported that this flu season has sent more people to the hospital with the illness than any other season in almost a decade. There have been over 6,200 confirmed cases of the flu, DPH said. Moreover, the flu shot offers substantial protection against H1N1, and moderate protection against influenza B, the CDC said. "The vaccine may also reduce the severity of symptoms if you catch the flu in spite of being vaccinated, and it is not too late to get the vaccine".

There have been 25 flu deaths in the Calgary zone so far this season, according to figures released by the province this week. Since the official Health Department number only includes laboratory-confirmed cases, the actual number of flu cases is believed to be higher. That measure dropped significantly last week, the first such decline of the season.

"Influenza (flu), a contagious respiratory illness which affects thousands of people in the Caribbean each year".

"Knowing what we know about previous H3N2 seasons and looking at the data, you can see a fairly steady rise of influenza B", Nordlund said.

But the news was not all good, and it doesn't look like the flu season is over yet.

Other countries also are experiencing a bad flu season because of the vaccine's ineffectiveness against the H3N2 virus.

"The Monmouth County Health Department would like to remind residents to wash their hands, cover their cough and stay home from work or school if they are sick", Impreveduto said.

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