Alberta is seeing an end-of-season spike in influenza B cases, according to a professor of medicine at the University of Calgary.
Statistics from Alberta Health Services show the province had 3,707 confirmed cases of the influenza A strain (H3N2) during the 2016-17 flu season and just 196 cases of influenza B.
“Influenza B is coming through. [It’s] nowhere near as severe [as influenza A] but it is happening now that we are getting a tail off of the season,” James Dickinson said.
The flu season typically touches down in Canada in November and lingers until March.
According to the research published by the Canadian Sentinel Practitioner Surveillance Network in February, Alberta had an earlier start to the influenza season.
The research suggested that the flu shot administered during the 2016-17 flu season has been about 60 per cent effective in Alberta and 42 per cent nationwide.
While that may not seem like a win, Dickinson said that level of protection is still considered a success.
“The flu vaccine is not a perfect vaccine.”
“It’s not as good as many other vaccines that give close to 100 per cent, but we are in the [area] of 50 per cent. That reduces your chances of getting a really bad flu by 50 per cent,” he said. “That’s still worthwhile.”
According to AHS, Alberta recorded 53 flu-related deaths during the 2016-17 season.
Sixty-two flu-related deaths were reported in Alberta during the last flu season.
With files from Dallas Flexhaug