Influenza cases are on the rise throughout the province, prompting health experts to encourage Manitobans to get the flu shot.
Manitoba Health issued a statement on Wednesday encouraging those who work in close contact with others, such as health-care workers, first responders and caregivers, to get the influenza vaccine.
Others at increased risk include seniors 65 and older, children under the age of five, pregnant women and those with a chronic illness.
The annual seasonal flu shot is available to all Manitobans through their primary care provider and offers protection against three seasonal flu strains.
During the week of Dec. 23, there were 21 cases of influenza A and two cases of influenza B reported in Manitoba. Along with increased cases of influenza, Manitobans are also experiencing a higher rate of respiratory illness according to Manitoba Health. But these cases are nothing out of the ordinary, said Dr. Sandra Allison, medical officer of health in Brandon.
“What we’re seeing this year is usual for a normal influenza year as we’ve seen in 2009,” Allison said. “There has been a typical rapid spread, people are unwell in the work place and are coughing and sneezing.”
But so far Brandon Regional Health Centre staff aren’t feeling the effects of increased flu cases coming through their doors.
“They always do have certain crunch periods but they’re not experiencing anything unusual right now or need to change their approach to services just yet,” Allison said.
Although the local hospital might not be overwhelmed with flu cases at this time, Allison still encourages everyone to get the vaccine.
“It’s effective and if we have good rates of immunization with the flu vaccine we can prevent illness for our vulnerable population.”
For more information you can contact HealthLinks — Info Santé at 204-788-8200.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 11, 2013