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Overall Summary

  • In week 15, influenza activity in Canada was sustained by continued circulation of influenza B. Ontario reported a marked increase in influenza activity and some western provinces have also reported increases in detections of influenza B.
  • While the influenza A(H1N1) virus has mostly affected adults 20-64 years of age this season, influenza B is having a greater impact on adults 65 years of age and older, as well as young persons 5 to 19 years of age.
  • As of week 15, 4,070 hospitalizations and 226 deaths have been reported from participating regions, which is comparable to reports in past influenza seasons.
  • Influenza activity remains within expected levels for this time of year.

About FluWatch

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.