While flu season has officially ended in Grande Prairie the bug may not be done wreaking havoc. While Alberta Health Services saw a spike in cases in December, Medical Officer of Health Albert de Villiers says another flu strain has made a comeback over the last few weeks.
“It has slowed down and we mostly saw H1N1, the same one that we saw in 2009/10 during the pandemic time. There has been a little bit of a resurgence now in the last few weeks; another kind of influenza but a different strain, the H3N2… We have seen some more cases now in the last few weeks.”
Flu data is looked at based on zone and Grande Prairie is located within the North Zone. Of the 1,151 Albertans admitted to hospital with the virus since October 2018, 171 were in AHS’ North Zone.
There were two deaths reported in the North Zone this flu season down from the ten in northern Alberta last season. One person died in the week leading up to November 24th, 2018 and a second person died in the week leading up to January 26th, 2019.
While de Villiers says those numbers are lower than what they’ve seen in the past, one death is too many.
“I always say any death whether there was one or two or 30 is one too many. It is mostly preventable if you take your vaccine and do all the other things you’re supposed to do then you’re probably going to survive and you’re probably not going to get influenza.”
de Villiers wants to remind people to get their flu shot every October along with making sure they cover their cough and stay home when they’re sick in order to protect themselves and the people around them.