Flu season has officially arrived in London, and the worst may be yet to come.
Officials with the Middlesex-London Health Unit say flu activity this year is similar to the 2014-15 season when the H3N2 virus was especially bad.
Tristan Squire-Smith is the manager of Infectious Disease Control at the Health Unit. He tells AM980 it’s not too late to get the flu shot.
“If you plan to spend a lot of time with either young children or older adults, we definitely recommend it this year, only because of how vulnerable we know these populations are.”
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada’s FluWatch report, the week of December 11th to 17th saw an increase in outbreaks and admissions to hospitals.
There were 692 positive flu cases that week, with H3N2 being the most common strain detected, compared with 554 cases the week before.
The health unit says the Middlesex-London area had 39 cases of laboratory-confirmed influenza A between December 25th and 31st with 19 people requiring hospitalization.
In addition, four facility outbreaks of influenza A were declared.
“The flu is definitely in our community and has been for a couple weeks. We’re still seeing an increasing number of cases week over week, so I think we haven’t seen the peak of the season yet,” Squire-Smith says.
Two years ago the flu shot was a poor match for the H3N2 virus with it’s effectiveness gauged at less than 10 per cent.
Experts believe this year the flu shot is a better match for the strain currently in circulation.