Alberta Health Services officials are advising the public to get their flu shot as flu season is in full swing in the province, and some cases are being reported with serious consequences.
“Cases we had seen initially were what we considered sporadic. This has now changed,” says Dr. Gerry Predy, AHS’ Senior Medical Officer of Health. “The level of influenza activity in the community we’re seeing now – including reported outbreak activity – tells us that influenza season has begun.”
As of November 15, there have been 219 individual cases of influenza confirmed in Alberta, including 69 hospitalized cases and seven deaths. Three outbreaks have been reported in Alberta in November.
More than 926,500 doses of influenza vaccine have been administered to Albertans this season, as of November 15. While this is a good start, thousands of Albertans remain without protection.
“Uptake of influenza vaccine has been impressive so far, but we’re certainly not where we want to be yet,” says Dr. Predy. “It takes two weeks after being immunized to be fully protected. With the virus already circulating, Albertans need to act now: get immunized to protect yourself and reduce the further spread of disease in our province.”
“To those of you who have been immunized – thank you”, says Dr. Predy. “To those of you who have not yet been immunized, do not delay. Get immunized and get protected today.”
Public Health Canada reports influenza A(H3N2) continues to be the most common type of influenza affecting Canadians. To date, 40-50% of influenza laboratory detections and hospitalizations have been in seniors ≥65 years of age.
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