Early spread of H3N2 flu virus affecting thousands of people nationwide
Jan 3, 2013
Thousands of Canadians celebrated the holiday season feeling a bit feverish, knocked off their feet by a strain of influenza that’s hurried across the country earlier than in years past.
The latest edition of the Public Health Agency of Canada report said localized influenza activity, commonly known as the flu, was reported in 11 provinces and territories during the first week of December.
According to Health Canada, there were around 3,500 cases of influenza in the country as of Dec. 15. By the same time in 2011, there were only 182 cases.
New statistics on the flu outbreak are expected from British Columbia and Quebec on Thursday, sure to affirm the coughing fits heard nationwide.
The flu typically strikes any time between November and April, with a peak somewhere near the end of January. Health officials are finding this season the majority of cases being reported are an aggressive sub-type of the H3N2 virus.
Dr. Michael Gardam, infectious disease consultant at the University Health Centre in Toronto, said he’s seen a “huge number” of patients coming through the emergency room in the past few weeks.
“Most people who get the flu don’t end up hospitalized,” Gardam said. “We are seeing large numbers of people in the hospital who are coming in and are kept in the hospital with it.”