In its weekly FluWatch report, the Public Health Agency of Canada says there were 11,277 laboratory-confirmed cases of flu across the country as of December 30 - about 70 per cent attributed to H3N2 - with more than 1,000 influenza-related hospitalizations and 34 deaths.
The 2017-18 flu season in OH and nationally is looking similar to the 2014-15 flu season, which at the time was the most severe flu season in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"We really haven't seen a season quite like this in a little while", said Dr. Michelle Murti of Public Health Ontario, referring to the mix of two primary strains making people sick during this year's epidemic.
ODH also reports 1,750 new confirmed flu-associated hospitalizations in OH during the first week of January, a significant increase over 925 reported during the last week of December.
Of the cases, 406 were confirmed influenza and 311 people were hospitalized - with more than half in the 65-plus age group.More news: When people sleep more they also eat less sugar and carbs
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White County Public Health nurse Marsha Oilar says she administers 600 doses of the flu vaccine each year. The number of cases is rising and the predominant strain - A (H3N2) - is one that in past years has caused more hospital admissions and deaths than other strains, especially among older adults and young children.
Canada's flu shot contains the same vaccine components as that used by Australia during the Southern Hemisphere's flu season that ended in August, which was found to have only 10 per cent effectiveness in preventing H3N2. "But if you do get vaccinated and get influenza, hopefully, your symptoms will be less severe".
While October is the month most generally recommended by doctors for getting an annual flu shot, there's still time to do so.
Even though Schneider said the flu back then was very different from today's flu virus, it still kills 250,000 people every year worldwide. CRMC is also asking people not to visit if they have flu-like symptoms or have been around someone in the past seven days with fever, muscle aches or extreme fatigue, congestion, cough, sore throat or chills. The vaccination is available at most healthcare providers' offices, local health departments and retail pharmacies. The flu shot used the same components as as Australia's vaccine during their flu season that ended in August. "And if they do get sick, try to reach their health district for antiviral medication".