Hospitalizations due to influenza continue to rise in Central Alberta, but flu-related deaths have held steady at eight.
As of Jan. 20 a total of 126 people have been hospitalized this season, up from 99 as of Jan. 13.
Lab-confirmed Influenza A cases have remained stable at about 770, but Influenza B cases increased to 318 from 287.
“It’s still not too late to get immunized. Although number of cases are declining, it’s hard to say how long the threat is going to persist,” said Dr. Digby Horne, medical officer of health for the Central Zone, on Friday.
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.
Across Alberta there have been 4,860 cases of Influenza A and 1,868 Influenza B.
Digby said a few weeks ago there were as many as 14 outbreaks at the same time in the zone. Now there are only three or four outbreaks that are coming to an end.
“We’ve passed our peak for influenza outbreaks.”
He said Influenza B made an earlier appearance and so far there’s been double the cases compared to last season.
“It’s on the way down, but it will be interesting to see if it decreases (at the end of March) which was the peak last year,” Horne said.
He said unlike Influenza A which is seen more often in people age 65 and over, there are more Influenza B cases between 18 and 65.
Across Alberta 2,012 people with the flu have been hospitalized and 55 people have died.
In the 2016-17 flu season, 64 Albertans died of influenza and 11 of those deaths were in the Central Alberta.