Flu-related deaths are on the rise in Central Alberta with eight reported as of Jan. 13 according to statistics released Thursday.
Last season 11 deaths were reported in Alberta Health Services (AHS) Central Zone for the entire season.
So far this season there have been 46 deaths across Alberta, and a total of 64 Albertans died last season.
Dr. Mohammed Mosli, medical officer of health for AHS Central Zone, said based on current numbers there is no reason to be alarmed.
“Every death is important. But at the moment there is no reason to be alarmed that this is different than any other season in the past,” Mosli said on Friday.
He said flu struck earlier this season so it’s misleading to compare it to last season until the season is over and all the numbers are in.
As of Jan. 13, AHS Central Zone had seen 1,020 lab-confirmed flu cases and 99 people admitted to hospital.
Across the province a total of 6,320 people have had confirmed flu and 1,814 admitted to hospital.
“Influenza is still circulating. Everyone is at risk of getting influenza and the best way to protect themselves is by getting the flu shot and making sure that they themselves are protected and their loved ones are also protected,” Mosli said.
“Even if someone gets immunized and gets the flu, the disease is usually much milder and the person is less likely to spread the disease. It still does offer protection.”
Influenza is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs caused by a virus that is spread through the air. It is also spread by touching objects that have been coughed or sneezed on by someone with the flu.
A higher risk of complications from the flu is possible for children six to 59 months of age, pregnant women, people 65 years or older, and people with chronic health problems.