Flu circulating ‘quite strongly’ in Yukon, say health officials
144 confirmed cases, and 17 people hospitalized with flu symptoms
CBC News Posted: Jan 09, 2017 2:06 PM CT Last Updated: Jan 09, 2017 2:06 PM CT
‘I think we’re going to see it circulating around here for a while,’ said Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health. (Philippe Morin/CBC)With files from Heather Avery
Yukon continues to suffer through a bad flu season this year, with 144 confirmed cases so far this winter.
"All the indications are that flu continues to circulate quite strongly," said Dr. Brendan Hanley, the territory’s chief medical officer of health.
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He says 17 people have been hospitalized so far with flu symptoms ("certainly a high number for us"), and the number continues to rise. Most of those people have underlying medical conditions such as respiratory disease.
Flu season started early this year in Yukon, with some cases confirmed even before the first vaccination clinics last fall. Hanley says the rest of Canada is now just "catching up to what we’ve been experiencing."
The N.W.T., however, has so far not been hit hard. According to the territory’s health officials, there have been only six lab-confirmed cases in N.W.T., although they admit that’s likely only a fraction of the total number of infections.
‘A long winter ahead of us’
The dominant strain this year is H3N2, a more severe strain of influenza. When it first surfaced in 2014 it killed more than 500 Canadians and put about 7,700 people in the hospital.
This year’s flu shot covers H3N2, the predominant strain this year. Shots are available at the Whitehorse Health Centre during drop-in times, 8 to 8:45 a.m. on weekdays. (Toby Talbot/Associated Press)
The virus is covered by this year’s vaccination.
But Hanley says he wouldn't be surprised if another strain appears before the season is over.
"I think we’re going to see it circulating around here for a while," he said. "It’s yet a long winter ahead of us and potentially lots of flu still ahead of us."
Hanley urges people to get the flu shot, if they haven’t already. He also advises people to seek medical attention if flu symptoms are particularly severe — for example, difficulty breathing, or a prolonged fever.