‘This is unusual’: Alberta’s influenza numbers way down
EDMONTON – It may be hard to believe if you’ve been one of the unfortunate ones who have been sick with the flu, but the number of Albertans who have been inflicted with the illness this season is down, way down.
“We’ve seen a much less severe flu season, especially compared to last year,” Dr. Joanna Oda, medical officer of health with Alberta Health Services said.
“We’re definitely seeing cases but nowhere near what we saw last year at this time.”
As of Jan. 7, the number of confirmed influenza cases was 166, which is a fraction of the 2,700 Albertans who were confirmed to have the illness a year earlier, according to Alberta Health Services statistics.
“This is unusual. The other unusual piece is that flu seems to moving south to north; usually in Alberta we see a north to south direction so our colleagues and friends in Calgary may be experiencing more of the flu season this year than we in Edmonton yet have seen,” Oda said.
Last year, the H3N2 strain was problematic and caused flu cases to soar. The vaccine was only partially protective for that strain of influenza.
According to Oda, the predominant strain so far this season is also H3N2, although H1N1 had also been popping up.
There have been no confirmed deaths this season, while 30 people have been sent to the hospital with the flu. A year ago, 23 people died and 390 Albertans had to go to the hospital to be treated.
In Edmonton, there have been 41 people confirmed to have the illness this season, compared to 1,000 at the same time in 2015.
Oda said about one million vaccines have been issued across the province so far this flu season.
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