Flu cases start to appear in western region

Diane Crocker
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CORNER BROOK — With the influenza season just starting in this province and reports of deaths from the virus in Alberta, Peggy Allan is encouraging people in the western region to get vaccinated.

Allan is the communicable disease control nurse with Western Health. She said monitoring and reporting on flu cases is now occurring on a daily basis in this province.

“We’re looking at making sure we have plans in place and that we’re going to be responsive to any scenario that would unfold,” she said.

Last week there were 36 cases of influenza, or the flu, reported across the province. So far this year there have been about 10 cases reported regionally. And while the numbers are down from last year’s 179 cases at the same time period, Allan said that doesn’t mean there isn’t a cause for concern.

The majority of the confirmed cases have been for H1N1. That strain of the flu virus created quite a stir in the winter of 2009-2010.

Allan said the H1N1 strain has been actually been present in the last two or three flu seasons, so from that respect it’s not really anything new. She said there’s no reason to suspect right now that it will be as severe as in 2009-2010.

Allan said Western Health is keeping an eye on what is happening with the virus elsewhere, in particular in Alberta where earlier this week the number of confirmed deaths from H1N1 was 10.

Allan said everyone would benefit from getting the flu vaccine and while the prime time for vaccinating tends to be in October or November people can be vaccinated at any time.

That’s why Western Health has been promoting the vaccine and encouraging anyone who hasn’t yet to contact their family doctor or local public health office to get vaccinated.

Geographic location: Alberta, CORNER BROOK

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