Medical

Alberta sees 'significant' number of influenza cases this season

Alberta sees 'significant' number of influenza cases this season

The strain attacks elderly and young children who have more underlying issues and compromised health, said influenza epidemiologist Anita Valiani.

The state Department of Public Health's weekly flu update released today shows that hospital and outpatient visits for the flu have decreased over the lasts several weeks.

A study of the impact of prior flu vaccination on effectiveness in the current season in Japanese schoolchildren found a significant association between reduced vaccine effectiveness (VE) against medically attended flu and repeated vaccination.

The state is also seeing its first week in regional activity after experiencing widespread activity the past 11 weeks, which means flu-related activity is present in less than half the state's regions.




Most of the season has been dominated by the influenza A virus known as H3N2 that health officials say tends to cause more illness than other flu viruses. Also, the number of people going to the doctor with symptoms of the flu has continued to decline. Northern and Eastern Virginia were struck more severely than Central Virginia, according to health department data for the week ending March 3.

In all, 86 people had to be hospitalized within the last week due to the flu virus, bringing the total number of hospitalizations to 4,250. And 7,733 lab tests documented flu this season. The most recent deaths are all in the age group 50 years and older. The rules ban children from patient rooms and limit the number of visitors to two adults at a time. The health department reported a spike in ER visits for ages 5-18 for the week ending February 9.

Based on the public outcry from the 2017-2018 seasonal influenza outbreak, along with the national security implications of a future severely virulent influenza pandemic, GlobalData believes that the transition to non-egg vaccine mass production technologies should be expedited. Slater notes that restrictions on hospital visitation that went into effect in late January continue.

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.


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