Three flu-related deaths in Central Alberta

So far 27 hospital admissions

Two people with influenza died in Central Alberta over the Christmas holidays bringing the total deaths to three this flu season.

As of Dec. 31, Alberta Health Services Central Zone also had 210 confirmed flu cases and 27 people admitted to hospital.

Across Alberta, 13 people with the flu have died and 478 admitted to hospital. There has been 1,768 laboratory-confirmed flu cases, and Calgary is the hardest with 1,036.

“Most of what we’re seeing is the specific strain which hits older people harder, which doesn’t mean that it doesn’t impact other people. I think that’s sometimes a misconception. It can be serious for any age,” said Deena Hinshaw, medical officer of health with AHS Central Zone.

She said four outbreaks in seniors facilities have been reported in the zone so far this season.

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.

Immunization against the flu is still available and is free of charge to all Albertans six months of age and older.

People can book appointments at AHS community health centres in Red Deer by calling 403-356-6429.

Some pharmacies and physician offices also offer influenza vaccine. Children younger than age nine must be immunized by AHS.

For information on immunization