Influenza season has not been kind to us in the Calgary Zone which includes High River.

According to numbers released Nov. 25, the Calgary Zone accounted for more than half of the lab confirmed influenza cases in the province, with 652 of the 1,147 cases coming from the area.

Dr. Judy MacDonald, Calgary Medical Officer of Health with AHS, says our hospitalization numbers also account for more than half of reported cases across the province.

"We also see similar proportions when we look at the number of individuals hospitalized with influenza, so in the Calgary zone 190 of the 320 reported across the province. So we have a lot of influenza activity, we started earlier than other zones and it's still very busy."

The zone has also seen more influenza related deaths than the rest of the province, this year five people have died due to influenza, three of those individuals in the Calgary Zone.

MacDonald says the most predominant strain this year has been the H3 subtype of influenza A.

She shares there's no particular reason the Calgary Zone is bearing the brunt of influenza season this year.

"That's the million dollar question. We know that influenza comes every year sometime in the fall and it has to show up somewhere, some years it has started in the North of the province and moved South. This year and last year Calgary was the first zone to report influenza activity, it has to start somewhere."

The good news is vaccination numbers are up this year, with just under 400,000 doses administered so far, up from 318,000 in the same time frame in 2016.

"It's good, people are paying attention, perhaps its because they know there's lots of influenza activity this year. It's not too late to get immunized, there is lots of vaccine available still."

MacDonald also stresses the importance of washing your hands, keeping your hands away from your face, and staying home if you are sick.


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