New Brunswick seeing early spike in flu-related cases: health officials

Click to play video: 'N.B. emergency rooms slammed with influenza cases'
N.B. emergency rooms slammed with influenza cases
Friday, Jan. 4: Emergency rooms across the province are being slammed with influenza cases. As Megan Yamoah reports, health officials say this year's H1N1 strain is especially bad – Jan 4, 2019

It’s flu season again and New Brunswick health officials say this year’s H1N1 strain is especially bad.

Emergency rooms are slammed with cases. There have been over 300 cases of influenza in the past two weeks in the province.

The flu season generally starts in late December, however, influenza-related cases ramped up in the later part of November this season.  In total, there have been 579 lab-confirmed influenza cases, with 577 of those influenza A, and two influenza B.

So far, there have been 71 influenza-associated hospitalizations and 15 patients have been admitted into the intensive care unit. Three people have died as a result of the virus.

“The deaths that are associated with the flu this year are people that have not been immunized,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health.

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READ MORE: N.S., N.B. flu-related deaths have more than doubled this year: health officials

Eighteen per cent of all hospitalized cases were children under the age of 10, with one admitted to the ICU. As of Friday, no children have died from the flu this year.

Dr. Russell says those most at risk to catch the flu are seniors, but kids are not exempt.

“We are also seeing the H1N1 this year, influenza A, affecting young to middle-aged adults who have chronic diseases,” she said.

WATCH: Staying health during cold and flu season 

Click to play video: 'Staying healthy during the cold & flu season'
Staying healthy during the cold & flu season

Farraline Place is a senior care home run by Judy O’Donnell. She has an ironclad set of rules to keep her senior residents healthy during flu season. They have warning signs posted on every entrance, they encourage frequent hand washing, and cut off visitation when a resident falls ill.

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“We closed the doors, we didn’t let anyone in other than service people that had to come to deliver. We didn’t even allow families and we encouraged residents not to go out,” said O’Donnell.

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