Alberta Health Services reported its first influenza-related deaths of the season this week in its central zone.
Four out of Alberta’s 15 flu deaths were in the central zone. Last week, there were 10 such deaths across the province.
Twenty-one of Alberta’s 92 flu-related deaths were in Central Alberta in 2017.
Influenza is an infection of the nose, throat and lungs caused by a virus spread through the air. It is also spread by touching objects that have been coughed or sneezed on by someone with the flu.
Dr. Mohammed Mosli, medical officer of health with AHS’s central zone, said any flu-related deaths are a tragedy.
“The best recommendation that we can give to everyone is to get vaccinated. Influenza is a serious illness. It makes people sick. It can kill people and it is not something that we take lightly,” Mosli said.
Immunization is the best way for people to protect both themselves and their loved ones, he said.
“We have enough vaccine to cover 35 per cent of the population and we hope that we use all the vaccine that we have. We encourage everyone to visit the nearest public health clinc, the nearest pharmacy, the nearest doctor’s office to get their vaccine.”
As of this week, 1.1 million Albertans have been vaccinated this flu season, which includes about 103,000 central Albertans.
So far, a total of 397 central Albertans have tested positive for the flu and 65 people have been admitted to hospital.
Across the province, there have been 3,806 lab-confirmed cases and 741 hospitalizations.