Widespread flu activity reported in St. John's, Avalon region

Deana Stokes Sullivan
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The number of influenza cases is continuing to decline across the country, but the east coast of Newfoundland is reported to have widespread flu activity in the latest Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) FluWatch report.

The central region of the province is reported to have localized flu activity, according to the latest report for the week of March 24-30.

The PHAC says the influenza-like illness consultation rate increased slightly but was within the expected range for this time of year.

Laboratory detections of influenza were similar to the past two weeks, and the proportion of influenza B continued to increase. Detections of other respiratory viruses were stable or decreasing compared to recent weeks.

Lab tests confirmed two cases of Influenza A in Newfoundland and Labrador in the week of March 24-30 and three cases of Influenza B. However, while lab tests confirm the presence of flu circulating in a region, not all cases of influenza-like illness are tested.

The PHAC also receives reports from doctors in regions across the country to confirm the presence of flu-like illness.

To date this flu season, there have been 711 lab-confirmed Influenza A cases in Newfoundland and Labrador and 14 confirmed Influenza B cases.

Across the country, 26,529 Influenza A cases have been confirmed by lab tests and 2,623 Influenza B cases.

 

 

Organizations: Public Health Agency of Canada

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John's, Avalon

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  • FINTIP
    April 09, 2013 - 18:12

    This article, like most articles about flu activity across Canada, is useless. It states that flu numbers are declining across the country, but still widespread in the eastern part of this province. It cites cumulative year-to-date (September thru March) numbers. It does not offer any statistical support for the 'widespread' assertion. To the contrary, the table accompanying the story shows only two confirmed cases for the last week of March. So the numbers don't support the main thrust of the article. That said, there is anecdotal evidence (not mentioned) showing widespread flu activity in the province. Who of us doesn't know of dozens down with the flu - in many cases with a side order of chest infections that seem to hang on for months. Indeed the severity of the flu and associated conditions appears to be the worst in many years. If so, then surely there would be information from the medical community that would have allowed a proper story baed on that fact. The blame isn't entirely with the reporter. Health authorities make no real effort to test for flu in a manner that would provide statistical value. The number of confirmed cases of course is only a small fraction of the actual number of cases - what fraction, we have no way of knowing or extrapolating based on the present system. The CDC claims a vaccine effectiveness rate for 2013 of 56%, but their methodology is notoriously poor. If, despite having gotten the flu shot, you come down with the flu and miss a week's work, you are counted by the CDC as having been flu-free unless you went to a doctor or hospital. The real effectiveness level is believed to be much lower - a third or less. Even more disappointing is that the flu vaccine offers the least protection for those people most at risk of dying from complications associated with the flu. In seniors homes all across Canada, the elderly are lined up for flu shots despite scientific evidence showing the absence of any benefit. That's right, vaccine effectiveness is almost zero for those over 65 - the very people most likely to die from it. Flu vaccines might eventually perform a useful role but at present they are almost worthless - little more than a giant money making scam aided and abetted by our governments. The biotech industry gets a pile of unearned profits and government gets to pretend it is actually doing something to reduce flu-related deaths.