Island Health and pharmacies across Vancouver Island are preparing for the upcoming flu season. (Photo courtesy of Island Health)

Flu season arrives early on Vancouver Island

Island Health officials recommending getting the flu shot sooner rather than later

The flu vaccine’s arrival on Vancouver Island may be delayed for some, but the virus itself arrived several weeks ago.

Island Health has said some adult flu vaccine shipments were delayed this year but have begun to arrive in health units.

Flu season typically begins in late December and lasts until April, but according to the Public Health Agency of Canada’s weekly influenza reports, several regions in Western Canada were reporting influenza activity ranked as localized or sporadic by week 40 – Sept. 29 to Oct. 5.

The influenza activity levels are categorized into five categories: no data, no activity, sporadic activity, localized activity and widespread activity.

READ ALSO: Flu shots are delayed, no shortage reported: Island Health

In the no activity stage, there are no positive laboratory results for influenza in the time period, but influenza-like-illness (ILI) could still be reported. A region classified as having sporadic activity will have no outbreaks but some positive lab results for ILI. Localized activity is classified as having evidence of ILI, positive laboratory tests for the virus and outbreaks in schools, hospitals or other facilities in less than 50 per cent of the region. Areas deemed to have widespread activity will see increasing evidence of influenza and outbreaks occurring in 50 per cent or more of facilities in the region.

According to the weekly influenza reports, in weeks 37 and 38 – Sept. 8 to 21 – no influenza activity was reported on Vancouver Island. But by weeks 39 and 40, localized activity had been reported in the region.

In mid-October, the activity dropped to sporadic but had since returned to the localized level.

According to data from the BC Centre for Disease Control, at this time in 2018, influenza activity was low in October and remained that way until activity increased in mid-November.

Medical health officers have acknowledged flu season has arrived early this year, said Island Health spokesperson Cheryl Bloxham. The officers are encouraging Island residents to get vaccinated in the next few weeks. While delays have affected the availability of adult flu vaccines, Bloxham emphasized that shipments are arriving every Thursday.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know before getting the flu shot

Medical health officer Dr. Paul Hasselback told the Saanich News the vaccines that had been ordered would all arrive by Nov. 14.

“There will be plenty of vaccines for everyone,” he added.

Influenza A (H3N2) remains the most common strain of the influenza virus in Canada this year. The 2019-2020 vaccine will protect against this strain and two others, so physicians are recommending getting vaccinated before the end of November.

The Influenza Activity Levels Across Canada map can be accessed on the Government of Canada website. Updates for week 43 and 44 had not been released by press time.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Vancouver Island man scores viral hit with stop-motion tribute to ‘Schitt’s Creek’

Todd Cameron used vintage Fisher Price toys to create one-minute music video

Study looks at feasibility of Vancouver Island abattoir

South Island Prosperity Partnership funds study looking at local meat processing

Inquest into Nanaimo fatal police shooting postponed due to pandemic

Testimony into Craig Andrew Ford’s 2016 death was to be heard starting July 27

Heartfelt memories of Derek Descoteau four years later

Victim of Chemainus murder and his brother leave a huge impact on a large group of friends

Case of missing Nanaimo woman inspires new true crime podcast

‘Island Crime’ Season 1 covers 2002 disappearance of 21-year-old Lisa Marie Young

B.C. records no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time in weeks

Good news comes despite 11 new test-positive cases in B.C. in the past 24 hours

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

ATV crash at bottom of Mount Washington sends two to hospital

ATV went off the logging road and into the bushes

Royal B.C. Museum reopens in phases, some galleries remain closed to start summer

Victoria museum and archives open first galleries June 19

Woman charged in fatal Malahat accident back in court on June 2

Sara Rosetta Thomas faces six charges in 2018 incident

RCMP told of alleged assault in Courtenay hours after the fact

Police only made aware of possible attack through social media posts

MISSING: Victoria police on the lookout for woman last seen April 28

Leah Parker, 41, is described five-foot-five and about 140 pounds with brown/blonde hair, blue eyes

Fraser Valley driver featured on ‘Highway Thru Hell’ TV show dies

Monkhouse died Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

Most Read