Edmonton leads country in flu cases

WATCH: Influenza hit our city early and hard this season. Su-Ling Goh finds out more about Edmonton leading the country in the number of flu cases.

EDMONTON – Alberta’s capital city has been hit hard by influenza this year. Edmonton leads the province – and the country – in the number of cases.

“It’s a market that we don’t want to lead in, but it’s true that Edmonton was particularly hit hard and hit early compared to the rest of the country,” says Dr. Marcia Johnson.

So far, there have been 668 confirmed cases of the flu in the Edmonton area. The city has, by far, the most cases in Alberta and even in Canada. To compare, the Calgary Zone has seen about 390 cases.

The dominant strain is H3N2, which this year’s flu vaccine isn’t as effective against.

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READ MORE: This year’s flu shot may not be the right match, CDC tells doctors 

However, health officials say if you get the flu shot, then contract H3N2, the illness will be less severe than if you don’t get vaccinated.

READ MORE: AHS confirms over 200 cases of influenza in Alberta 

The flu hit the area earlier than usual this year, but Johnson warns we’re not out of the woods yet.

“We will typically have a second influenza strain move into our communities and cause another flurry of illness later in the season,” the Alberta Health Services medical officer of health for the Edmonton Zone said.

“Influenza is a very serious disease.”

“Any strain of influenza is important to us, and we really want to do what we can to prevent it,” says Johnson.

So far this year, 260 Albertans have been hospitalized due to influenza. Ten of those have died.

All Albertans over the age of six months can still get a free flu shot. For more information, visit the Alberta Health Services website.