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Flu numbers spike at start of 2020
Published Monday, January 13, 2020 12:20PM EST Last Updated Monday, January 13, 2020 4:50PM EST
OTTAWA -- Ottawa Public Health reports a spike in lab-confirmed cases of influenza in the capital at the start of the New Year.
Since the flu season began in September, OPH says there have been 256 confirmed cases in Ottawa, as of Jan. 4, 2020. That’s up from 159 cases for the week ending Dec. 28, 2019.
So far, 166 cases this season were Influenza A, 87 cases were identified as Influenza B, while two cases were flagged as Influenza A & B.
Ottawa Public Health says it is aware of one influenza-related death so far this season.
OPH says 24.7% of all respiratory samples tested positive for influenza.
The median age for all cases is 56.
Influenza A tends to affect older people, with a median age of 66. The median age for Influenza B cases is 14.
CHEO is reporting more than 65 confirmed cases of Influenza B at the pediatric hospital compared to only three for this time last year.
Hospital officials say that's on top of 240 confirmed cases of Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a lung infection that usually affects children.
"If all these strains are coming all at the same time it's a perfect storm for a very, very busy time in the emergency department," said Dr. Anne Pham-Hyo, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at CHEO.
Marie-Claude Turcotte with OPH says signs of the flu include a fever, a cough, body aches and generally feeling unwell.
Turcotte says most people can take care of themselves at home by staying hydrated resting and taking over the counter medication for fever and pain. Those with underlying conditions should seek medical attention.
“Someone who would have asthma, or any respiratory kind of illness, heart disease, if you’re pregnant or if it’s an infant, a very small baby, definitely we do recommend that people seek medical attention,” she said.
Doctors are still telling people to get vaccinated against influenza. Flu shots are still available in the capital region.