Confirmed flu cases in Interior Health Authority up from last year - InfoNews

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Confirmed flu cases in Interior Health Authority up from last year

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January 04, 2019 - 1:30 PM

An early start to this year’s flu season is one of many factors contributing to a significant increase in confirmed influenza cases in the Interior Health Authority.

With months left in this year’s flu season, Interior Health officials have confirmed there’s been a jump in recorded flu cases across the Interior from last year. So far, there have been 522 positive influenza cases, and compared to the same time last year, there were 271 recorded cases, says Medical Health Officer Dr. Silvina Mema.

“We are seeing a lot more positive cases this year than in the previous two years,” she says.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean this year’s influenza outbreak was more severe than others, Mema says.

“There are lots of people who get the flu and they stay home and they don’t go to the doctors and get tested,” she says, adding that one thing Interior Health has done differently this year is increased their capacity for laboratory testing.

“There are more locations within the Interior where the testing is being done,” she says.

This year’s influenza activity has impacted seniors less than in previous years.

“This year we don’t have too many outbreaks in long-term care or nursing homes,” she says. “We are seeing children being affected more than in the past two years and we are also seeing young adults… this year it’s more of the working force (affected).”

This year’s influenza activity started off early in November, Mema says, with the number of cases increasing in December. However as of last week, health officials have started to see the number of cases winding down.

“Perhaps we reached a peak around Christmas, which would be unusual, but sometimes it happens,” she says. “It hasn’t been the case the last two years but it has happened before.”

With that being said, Mema says the worst of the flu season is behind us, but points out after the first peak there is often a less dramatic second peak for H3N2, also known as Influenza B, which is known to impact elderly people.

“The one that is circulating now is Influenza A (H1N1),” she says. “We can expect another peak around February for Influenza B.”

The end of the flu season is typically around March but Mema says it’s not too late to get your flu shot.

“I would still want people to get the flu shot because we still have a couple months ahead of us with influenza activity.”

For information on where to get your flu shot in your area go here.


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