Flu-related deaths climbs to five in Central Alberta

Same number of deaths as the entire last season

Five people with influenza have died so far this flu season in Central Alberta — the same number of deaths the region saw during the entire 2015-16 flu season.

As of Jan. 21, Alberta Health Services Central Zone had 371 confirmed flu cases and 59 people admitted to hospital.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, medical officer of health with AHS Central Zone, said it’s hard to compare one year to the next. The Influenza A strain circulating right now hits older people harder so the impact was not unexpected.

During the 2015-16 flu season, there were 62 influenza-related deaths in Alberta, including five people from Central Alberta. AHS Central Zone had 774 lab-confirmed flu cases and 202 Central Albertans were admitted to hospital.

So far this season across Alberta, 34 people with the flu have died and 924 were admitted to hospital. There has been 2,786 laboratory-confirmed flu cases. Calgary was the hardest hit with 1,342 cases, while Edmonton had 652.

She said the flu season generally starts off with Influenza A, followed by Influenza B.

“The vaccine protects against multiple strains of influenza. Influenza B can be serious as well so it’s definitely not too late to get vaccine,” Hinshaw said on Thursday.

For information on flu immunization go to www.albertahealthservices.ca/influenza.

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