LETHBRIDGE – More people in the southern health zone are immunizing against flu strains this year, and this may be part of what represents a comparatively low index for infection, hospitalization and mortality during this year.
In the southern health zone, almost 95,000 people have been vaccinated during this flu season, compared to just over 92,000 in 2017/18 and about 88,000 in 2015/16.
Medical Director of Health, Dr. Vivian Suttorp says so far, the predominant strain of influenza is the Influenza A-H1N1 virus, very similar to the same that caused 428 deaths in Canada and more than 33,000 hospitalizations in 2009/10.
According to the latest numbers on the AHS website, there has been only one flu-related death in the south zone, 54 hospitalizations, 302 cases of confirmed Laboratories of influenza A and 2 of influenza influenza.
Calgary has seen 9 dead, Edmonton 7, The Central Health Zone 9, and North Zone 2 so far.
There have also been almost 2,000 hospitalization infections and nearly 500 hospitalizations in Calgary, 629 infections and 145 hospitalizations in the central area, almost 1,000 infections and 300 hospitalizations in Edmonton and more than 1,100 infections and more than 170 hospitalizations in the north.
Suttorp says that one of the interesting things this year is that there have been no outbreaks in ongoing care facilities here.
"Therefore, any installation of the elderly or our hospitals, which speaks of rates of immunization in older people, the fact is that this Influence A affects the elderly, but not as much as the younger individuals.
"Where we see many numbers in previous years, it is when we have types of outbreaks. Therefore, if we have an outbreak in the facilities of an elderly, it is common, even if you put many controls of infection in its place, there are many people who achieve it because they are together in a community environment. We have not had any outbreaks, and we have very good vaccination rates in our elderly and that the vaccine is very effective, not we have seen these shoots ".
She adds that of those who have been hospitalized in the province, 80% were not vaccinated. Most of them also were younger than 65, and many were also children who did not have immunity against the H1N1 virus.
"We are seeing the most serious illness in young people where the immunization rates are lower," Suttorp explains.
The vaccine this year is more than 70% effective. Compared with 2017/18 and 2013, when the vaccines were not a good coincidence.
Why is the vaccine this year much more effective than in recent years?
"Annually, projects of the World Health Organization (WHO) examine all surveillance data, which are intended to be included in the northern hemisphere vaccine and the southern hemisphere vaccine. When it is a predominant year of influenza A-H3N2, as last year and the previous year, the specific virus changes more quickly and, therefore, even during In the six months of the flu season, this type of virus already has changes, so the vaccine is less effective, compared with H1N1. It does not change so quickly. "
Therefore, for those who obtained the H1N1 flu vaccine in 2009, they may have some immunity against the H1N1 virus this year, because it is similar.
However, Suttorp is cautious, reinforcers are needed, because there are other strains that are also included in the vaccine this year, including influenza influenza B, which can also become more frequent.
"When we have an influenza A spike, as if we had a little higher at the beginning of January, it is not atypical that we have a" second wave "of a different variant of influence in one of the vines of flu Influenza B. Therefore, do not be out of our guard. "