Flu cases ‘increasing sharply’, reports Public Health Agency of Canada


Flu cases in Canada are on the rise, marking a potentially early start to flu season, at the same time U.S. health officials report that hospitalization rates for respiratory illnesses have reached the highest point in a decade for this time of year.

« At the national level, influenza activity is increasing sharply », according to the FluWatch Report for the week ending October 29.

Influenza activity has crossed an epidemic threshold, with 5% of all respiratory virus tests positive. If it stays above that level and meets other criteria, the agency said it would declare a nationwide flu epidemic – which usually happens in mid-November.

Separately on Friday, Public Health OntarioThe weekly report from indicates that seasonal influenza activity has begun in this province. Parts of New Brunswick also have localized flu outbreaks, a notch below the most widespread level.

The flu has also been detected in parts of New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta, according to the federal report. from Alberta The Weekly Respiratory Viruses Report showed a class of cold virus, rhino-enterovirus, making up the lion’s share of the most recent positive lab tests.

Provinces and territories reported two influenza-associated hospitalizations and eight intensive care unit admissions for the week.

Visits to healthcare professionals for flu-like symptoms were above average, but within levels typical for this time of year. Symptoms could be due to other respiratory viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.

WATCH | More children are presenting to the emergency room with respiratory illnesses:

New data reveals scale of ER surge in children’s hospitals

Children’s hospitals in parts of Canada are still dealing with an unprecedented increase in emergency department visits and admissions, due to a huge spike in respiratory illnesses among children. In Ontario, children aged 5 to 17 come to the emergency room with respiratory problems at more than three times the seasonal average.

So far, about 54% of flu cases have affected children and adolescents.

The increase in influenza cases in Canada and United States comes as RSV and COVID-19 infections add pressure on hospitals in parts of both countries.

“There is no doubt that we will face challenges this winter,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dawn O’Connell told reporters.

Flu season in the United States appears to be earlier than normal but not more severe so far, she said.


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