- In week 50, laboratory detections of influenza increased sharply for the fourth consecutive week. The majority of laboratory detections continued to be reported in AB, ON and QC; but with increasing activity in SK, MB and NL.
- A(H3N2) continues to be the most common type of influenza affecting Canadians. In both laboratory detections and hospitalizations, the majority of cases have been among seniors ≥65 years of age.
- Similar to the previous week, there were a large number of newly-reported laboratory-confirmed outbreaks of influenza: 72 influenza A outbreaks in 8 provinces, of which 57 were in long-term care facilities (LTCF).
- To date, the NML has found that the majority H3N2 influenza specimens are not optimally matched to the vaccine strain which may result in reduced vaccine effectiveness against the H3N2 influenza virus. However, the vaccine can still provide some protection against H3N2 influenza illness and can offer protection against other influenza strains such as A(H1N1) and B.
Are you a primary health care practitioner (General Practitioner, Nurse Practitioner or Registered Nurse) interested in becoming a FluWatch sentinel for the 2014-15 influenza season? Contact us at FluWatch@phac-aspc.gc.ca
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.