27 cases of the flu were reported to the Middlesex London Health Unit, during the week of March 4 – March 10.
There were 20 cases of influenza A and seven cases of influenza B reported to the Middlesex-London Health Unit, and while 19 people were hospitalized, one person also died.
Mary-Lou Albanese is the manager for the Infection and Disease Control Team at MLHU.
“It’s been a different flu season, in terms of what cases we are seeing and the high numbers we’re seeing.”
Often cases of Influenza B occur towards the end of flu season, but this year the cases came early. Albanese says that this year will see double the amount of numbers than last year.
“This flu season there have been a lot more cases . Last flu season, we had a total of 480 for the entire year and this year, we are already up to 722 cases as of March 10th, and the season isn’t over yet.”
Since September 1, 2017, the health unit says that 367 people have been hospitalized, and 38 people have died. All of the victims were over 50 years old.
“Those who are over the age of 50 tend to have other medical conditions or have a lesser ability to fight off infection and therefore we often see numbers of deaths higher in the older population rate.”
What about the Quadrivalent Vaccine?
There was a new vaccine introduced this season – the quadrivalent. It protects against four strains of influenza viruses. Originally meant for just children, the health unit was given permission to distribute the vaccine to everyone.
“It’s not a simple process to develop a vaccine. The trivalent vaccine that came out first this flu season was supposed to be effective against influenza A and somewhat effective against influenza B. When we noticed that there was quite a bit of influenza B in the community, we were given approval to use the quadrivalent vaccine.”
The health unit still advises that the best method to protect yourself against the flu is to get the flu shot. “Getting the flu shot is the number one course of action against the flu. You are protected and provided some supported immunity so that way when and if you do get the flu, you may not get it to the same degree and intensity if you don’t have the flu shot.”
She adds that people also needs to remember the classic infection control practices, such as repeatedly washing hands and sanitizing, as well as coughing into elbows and not hands.