The flu season is off to a “sporadic” start in B.C., according to Health Canada’s weekly FluWatch reports.
Since late August, 140 cases of influenza A or B have been reported in the province. Nearly all of those were reported from the end of September to Oct. 26 – when the most recent data is available.
By this time last year, there were 69 confirmed cases, and the year prior, 159.
Most of the strains detected so far have been influenza A H3N2.
Health authorities are reminding people to get immunized with the annual flu shot as the season starts to ramp up, specifically children, seniors and those who work or live with people who have higher risks of complications from the flu.
“For healthy people, having the flu means a few days of feeling miserable, but for young children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, it can lead to a severe illness involving a hospital stay, or even death,” Dr. Meena Dawar, with Vancouver Coastal Health, said in a news release.
“The flu shot is the best way to not only protect yourself, but also the higher-risk people around you.”
The delivery of vaccines to B.C. pharmacies and clinics weas delayed in September, but hasn’t appeared to cause any shortages. This year, the intranasal vaccine, FluMist, isn’t available, so all vaccines will be by injection.