Flu spiking, spreading in Canada

Jan. 16, 2013 at 1:08 PM
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OTTAWA, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Government health officials says influenza activity spiked in Canada during the last two weeks of 2012, with increases reported in all indicators.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said a total of 4,632 laboratory detections of influenza were reported, of which 97.7 percent were for influenza A viruses, predominantly A(H3N2).

There were 127 new influenza outbreaks -- 87 in long-term care facilities, nine in hospitals, one in a school and 30 in other facilities or communities. In addition, 114 new pediatric influenza-associated hospitalizations were reported, and 176 hospitalizations including 15 deaths among adults older than age 20, the report said.

The influenza-like illness treatment rate with doctors increased, but remained within the expected range for this time of year, health officials said.

Similar to previous years, adults age 65 and older were the most-affected this season, with 41.3 percent of laboratory detections to date, increased outbreaks in long-term care facilities, higher hospitalization rates and a high proportion of anti-viral prescriptions among those age 75 and older.

In week 51 of 2012, two regions in Ontario reported widespread activity, while in week 52 -- the latest data available -- regions in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland reported widespread activity, and 17 regions in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island reported localized activity.

No data were reported from Yukon.

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