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Quiet year so far for flu cases

Dr. Richard Schabas, medical officer of health told the Board of Health for Hastings Prince Edward Public Health that this continues to be a quiet year for influenza.

“The first confirmed outbreak occurred in a long-term care facility this week, but usually at this time of year, there would be a higher incidence of Influenza A infection, in particular,” he said. “Influenza B infection tends to be more prevalent around March.”

In October, Schabas expressed concern about the cost and effectiveness of flu shots. He said the 2014 program cost about $100 million with five million Ontarians vaccinated, yet the vaccine was of no net benefit because it was a poor match against the most active strain of influenza virus.

“The likelihood is that this year’s vaccine will also be a poor match,” he said. “The vaccine has benefits, but its effectiveness is much poorer than we thought.”

As a result, he recommended only individuals who are considered high-risk (the elderly and those with serious chronic illness) and health care workers who work directly with high-risk individuals be vaccinated.

HPEPH continues to monitor the incidence rate.

Filed Under: Local News

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