The flu is at “peak levels” across Canada, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
There are signs the numbers are levelling after an unusually harsh flu season with increased deaths, a spike in children needing emergency medical care, and “widespread” infection throughout British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Prince Edward Island.
Roughly half of the nearly 35,000 cases have been among senior citizens, but the proportion of children hospitalized is increasing, to well over 500 across Canada.
That is largely due to a spike in influenza B, which generally affects children, to “well above expected levels for this time of year,” according to the national health watchdog’s latest numbers.
That strain is also responsible for the deaths of two children in Guelph, Ont., and three others elsewhere.
More than 3,000 people have been hospitalized for flu across Canada this winter, of whom 500 were children, and 285 required intensive care. There have been 130 deaths.
Laboratory detections of influenza B were at similar levels with influenza A, and both were implicated in institutional outbreaks, such as in retirement homes or schools.
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One of the worst hit areas was Ottawa, where 15 people are confirmed to have died from the flu, with the true number likely much higher, according to local officials.
Guelph was struck especially hard, as news came in the same week that two children from Westminster Woods Public School had died. Layna Vu Pollard, aged 12, was a grade 7 student, and Boyqara Dahi, 7, was in grade 2.
Both had the influenza B strain, but the two deaths are not thought to be connected, according to Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health. …read more
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