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Flu-related death toll in Ottawa rises to 3, public health agency confirms

Quebec regional health authorities and pharmacies are bracing for a record year as demand for the seasonal flu shot is at a never before seen high. Getty Images

Three people, all individuals over 65 years old, have now died from the flu in Ottawa this season, the city’s public health agency says.

According to weekly surveillance reports published by Ottawa Public Health (OPH), the third influenza-related death occurred at some point last week.

READ MORE: This year’s flu shot is 72% effective against the dominant strain – much better than last year’s, researchers say

The other two flu deaths occurred late last year, according to the public health agency.

The newest OPH influenza report says 264 lab-confirmed flu cases have been reported since the start of the flu season.

WATCH (Jan. 25, 2019): Mid-season estimates show this year’s flu vaccine to be 72% effective
Click to play video: 'Mid-season estimates show this year’s flu vaccine to be 72% effective' Mid-season estimates show this year’s flu vaccine to be 72% effective
Mid-season estimates show this year’s flu vaccine to be 72% effective – Jan 25, 2019

About 38 per cent of those people diagnosed with the flu since Sept. 1, 2018 were between 20 and 64 years old, while close to 36 per cent were 65 years of age and older, OPH says.

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As for flu outbreaks, the public health agency reported one new outbreak last week, bring the total number of influenza A outbreaks this season to 12.

READ MORE: When should you get the flu shot in Canada?

OPH says the flu vaccine is publicly-funded and any individual aged six months and older “who lives, works or attends school in Ontario” is eligible to get the shot from their primary care provider or family doctor, their local pharmacist or at one of the agency’s flu clinics.

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