Influenza is wreaking havoc across much of New Brunswick and neighboring Nova Scotia. In New Brunswick, health officials are reporting 13 deaths related to the flu, and another 207 hospitalizations. Nova Scotia has reported 14 influenza-related deaths.
“The flu season started a bit earlier and so what that means is we’re sort of further along in terms of numbers than we would have been at this time last year,” explained Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s Medical Officer of Health.
Health officials are reporting a vaccine effectiveness of about 10 to 20 per cent. It was designed after the H3N2 and influenza B strains.
“The bottom line is from year to year, there will be variations in strains that are included in the flu vaccine. There will be a variation each year from the efficacy, so from year to year, we will see variations,” says Russell.
With 27 deaths combined, doctors are recommending people get the shot and take other preventative measures to avoid the flu, as it has been known to stick around until spring. Health officials say hand washing is a tried and true public health measure you can take in order to protect yourself from influenza.
Lastly, if you’re sick, stay away from the most vulnerable of populations, the young and elderly, as they can develop complications.