- Influenza activity in Canada continued its slow decline in week 19, with the percentage of laboratory tests positive for influenza at 8.6%. Influenza B was the predominant strain, but detections continued to decrease.
- Detections of rhinovirus and parainfluenza continued to increase slowly, while detections of most other respiratory viruses decreased in week 19.
- The ILI consultation rate decreased slightly, but was above the expected range. Fewer regions reported localized activity compared to the previous week.
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.