Number of flu deaths holds steady in Central Alberta

Central Alberta is holding steady at six confirmed flu-related deaths, according to Alberta Health Services statistics released on Thursday. Across the province, 52 flu-related deaths were reported as of the Jan. 24 statistics, which are now up-to-date after a data backlog from Christmas.

Central Alberta is holding steady at six confirmed flu-related deaths, according to Alberta Health Services statistics released on Thursday.

Across the province, 52 flu-related deaths were reported as of the Jan. 24 statistics, which are now up-to-date after a data backlog from Christmas.

Lab-confirmed flu cases in Alberta, of both influenza A and B, increased to 3,951 from 3,790.

In Central Alberta, the number of confirmed cases climbed to 529 as of Jan. 24, from 500 a week earlier.

So far, 1,169 Albertans have been hospitalized, including 98 in Central Alberta.

Dr. Ifeoma Achebe, medical officer of health for AHS Central Zone, said the rate of new cases is on the decline and there are no influenza outbreaks in Central Zone.

“Right now, I’m happy to say influenza outbreaks have been declared over. That’s not to say there won’t be sporadic cases here and there,” Achebe said on Thursday.

“The flu season is not over. We still have a couple of weeks ahead. Things can change a few weeks down the line.”

She said influenza B generally appears after influenza A, however the B strain in the flu vaccine is a good match to help prevent infections, which is why people should still consider getting immunized.

Last flu season, Alberta had 30 flu-related deaths, including four in Central Alberta.

By the end of last season, the zone had 620 confirmed cases, both A and B.

Meanwhile, Central Zone continues to be the only zone that’s declared a whooping cough outbreak.

Achebe said the zone had two lab-confirmed cases and no hospitalizations so far in 2015.

A total of 137 cases have been confirmed since the zone declared the outbreak in early December. No deaths have been reported.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com