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Four cases of influenza reported

Alberta Health Services Central Zone has confirmed four cases of influenza so far this season.

Dr. Ifeoma Achebe, one of the medical officers of health for AHS Central Zone, said the cases were all influenza A and were confirmed as of Saturday. They involved a mix of ages and none were linked.

Last year, influenza A struck the region hard in December and by early February, Central Zone had 225 confirmed cases of influenza A and 35 influenza B cases.

“Fortunately for us, we haven’t had any outbreaks yet. But it’s still early in the day for influenza,” Achebe said on Wednesday.

“We want as many people as possible to go and get immunized. The more people we have immunized, the lower the chances of spreading the flu.”

So far, 40,401 people in Central Zone have been immunized at public drop-in clinics or at public health offices. Public clinics have concluded, but vaccinations are still available at public health offices.

Achebe said the immunization rate through AHS so far is comparable to last year. Pharmacists are also providing immunizations.

This year, the flu vaccine contains two strains of influenza A, including 2009’s pandemic strain H1N1, and one influenza B strain.

The vaccine is free to all Albertans six months of age and older. A nasal spray is available for children age two to 17.

Alberta Health Services says those at risk for serious health problems from influenza are children younger than two and adults 65 and older; people with weakened immune systems; those with chronic illnesses such as heart, lung or kidney disease, diabetes and cancer; and severely overweight individuals.

szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

 
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