- In week 09, influenza activity in Canada continues to decrease, following a pattern similar to the 2012-13 season.
- The influenza A(H1N1) virus remains the most common influenza virus circulating this season, affecting a greater proportion of adults 20-64 years of age compared to last season.
- Circulation of influenza B virus continues to increase.
- The number of sentinel paediatric and adult hospitalizations continues to decline. To week 09, 3,238 hospitalizations and 182 deaths have been reported. Compared to the same period last season, fewer hospitalizations but a similar number of deaths have been reported.
- A Canadian vaccine effectiveness study has estimated that immunization with the 2013-14 seasonal influenza vaccine has been 58.5% effective in reducing influenza-related hospitalizations (McNeil S, Shinde V, Andrew M et al.).
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.