- In week 08, overall influenza activity continued to decrease in Canada except in the eastern provinces which experienced a later start to the influenza season.
- The influenza A(H1N1) virus remains the most common influenza virus circulating this season although influenza B virus detections continue to increase.
- Adults 20-64 years of age continue to be more affected by influenza this season. However, the increasing circulation of influenza B may result in greater impact on older adults and children in the coming weeks.
- To week 08, 3,093 hospitalizations and 171 deaths have been reported, which is fewer than were reported during the same period last season.
- Overall influenza activity in Canada during the 2013-14 season has been similar to the 2012-13 season and is within expected levels for this time of year.
FluWatch is Canada's national surveillance system that monitors the spread of flu and flu-like illnesses on an on-going basis. FluWatch reports, posted every Friday, contain specific information for health professionals on flu viruses circulating in Canada.
The FluWatch program consists of a network of labs, hospitals, doctor's offices and provincial and territorial ministries of health. Program objectives include to:
- Detect flu outbreaks across the country as early as possible
- Provide timely up-to-date information on flu activity in Canada and abroad to health professionals [and interested Canadians]
- Monitor circulating strains of the flu virus (like H1N1) and assess their sensitivity to antiviral medications, [such as Tamiflu and Relenza]. Antivirals, when used by doctors to treat flu, can help reduce the severity of the illness and the recovery time for a patient
- Provide information that the World Health Organization can use to make its recommendations on the best vaccine to use for seasonal flu shots.
The Summary Box above covers the main findings from the current week's FluWatch report.