An “unusual” flu season that has already caused a few deaths and several hospitalizations is about to peak across Canada over the next few weeks, or even sooner, experts say.
Brampton could indeed have a potentially deadly flu outbreak on its hands.
According to Public Health Canada’s FluWatch report, influenza activity is spiking in Canada. Two strains of the virus are affecting the population – the dominant and more severe influenza A strain (H3N2) which mostly impacts the elderly, and an influenza B/Yamagata strain which affects both adults and children.
Up until December 30, 2017, there were 11,275 laboratory-confirmed cases across the country, 74 per cent of which are attributed to influenza A. There have been a total of 1,050 influenza-related hospitalizations and 34 deaths across the country.
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It’s relevant to note that these are just the reported numbers — they could be much higher, as not everyone seeks medical attention when they have the flu.
“We really haven’t seen a season quite like this in a little while,” said Dr. Michelle Murti of Public Health Ontario told National Post.
According to Murti, we could see a peak of influenza A through January, while influenza B will likely peak at the end of February and into the spring.
Canada’s flu shot was less effective than usual this year, said the National Post. The flu shot used the same components as as Australia’s vaccine during their flu season that ended in August. It’s true that the vaccine was only 10 per cent effective in preventing influenza A.
Anyone who is particularly at risk — including the elderly and those with heart and/or lung conditions — should seek immediate medical attention if they show flu-like symptoms.
To see Public Health Canada’s full FluWatch report, click here.