17 Albertans with confirmed cases of influenza have died so far this flu season

Nov. 7, 2018: In our Ask the Doctor segment, Dr. Sarah Burton-Macleod explains why its important to get a flu shot, and how serious influenza can be for some people.

According to Alberta Health Services’ latest numbers, 17 people in the province have died with lab-confirmed cases of influenza so far this flu season.

Of those deaths, seven were in the Calgary zone, five were in the central zone, four were in the Edmonton zone and one was in the north zone.

READ MORE: 6 Albertans who died this flu season had virus; Calgary hit hardest

At the end of November, the total number of recorded influenza A cases was 1,985. By Jan. 3, 2019, that number was 4,607. Calgary remained the hardest hit by the flu with 1,870 confirmed cases.

As of Jan. 3, nearly 1.2 million doses of vaccine had been given across the province and 910 Albertans had been admitted to hospital with lab-confirmed influenza. Compared to Jan. 11 last year, more vaccines have been administered this year and fewer people have been admitted to hospital with the flu.

READ MORE: Doctor warns Calgary may see ‘many more hospitalizations’ than usual this flu season

AHS said it cannot predict the effectiveness of a particular flu vaccine until the season is over.

WATCH BELOW: It’s been one of the deadliest flu seasons on record in Alberta. Eighty-six people who became ill with the influenza virus died. Kim Smith reports. (Nov. 2, 2018)

However, health officials stress anyone who hasn’t been immunized still has time.

“What Alberta Health Services has done is made it easier and increased the option to people who want to get the flu shot,” said Dr. Shobhit Maruti, a medical officer of health for the Edmonton zone. “You can go to certain pharmacies — many pharmacists will administer the flu shot — as well as family physicians.

“Last year, immunization reduced influenza by 42 per cent in those who were immunized compared to those who weren’t,” Maruit said. “It’s never too late to be immunized.”

READ MORE: Doctors anticipate better flu shot match, as annual sneezing, hacking season begins

Here are some tips from AHS on how to help prevent the spread of influenza:

  • Get immunized
  • Cover your cough
  • Clean your hands thoroughly and often
  • Stay home when you’re sick

For more information on the flu in Alberta, click here.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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