Number of confirmed influenza cases down in the province this year: government

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The provincial government says flu activity in the province this year is lower at this time than it was at the same time last year, and consistent with the five-year average.

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In a news release it says, of the laboratory-confirmed cases, the predominant strain is H1N1, which is consistent with what is being seen in the rest of Canada. 

To date, there have been 86 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza, the majority of which have been H1N1. There have been 14 hospitalizations and six admissions to intensive care. 

In comparison, at the same time last year there were 259 cases of influenza, 88 hospitalizations, 11 admissions to intensive care, and five deaths.

The H1N1 strain is now one of a number of influenza viruses that circulates in communities as part of seasonal flu activity. 

The current flu vaccine protects against three strains of flu, including H1N1.

“The provincial public vaccination program has had positive uptake this year with close to 130,000 vaccines being administered throughout Newfoundland and Labrador," said Health Minister Susan Sullivan.

"As a result, the provincial government is in the process of securing additional vaccine and assessing options for appropriate distribution as it becomes available to the province."

The vaccine program targets individuals at most risk – this includes young children, people with chronic disease, seniors and health-care professionals.

“So far this influenza season we are seeing lower levels of illness than last year and we have not seen any actual outbreaks in settings such as schools and long-term care facilities,"said Faith Stratton, Chief Medical Officer of Health.

"In addition to receiving influenza immunization, there are many ways to help protect yourself and your family from influenza. This can be achieved by practising the simple rule of clean, cover and contain. Individuals should remember to thoroughly wash their hands, cover coughs and sneezes, and to stay home when sick."

Geographic location: Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador

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