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Wednesday, March 07, 2018

2017-2018 Community Influenza Surveillance Report: Update of Current Status

Overall Assessment

The level of influenza activity continues to be moderate in the Middlesex-London region. Influenza B activity appears to have peaked for the season, and there are signs that influenza A activity may also be declining.

Analysis and Action

The Health Unit continues to recommend quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (QIV) for all unimmunized individuals. In addition to being immunized, local residents can also take a number of other steps to prevent becoming sick. Handwashing is an effective way to prevent many illnesses, including influenza. In addition, local residents should stay home when they feel sick, cover coughs and sneezes, and clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces frequently.

Details of Current Local Activity

Between February 25th and March 3rd, there were 19 laboratory confirmed cases of influenza A, 5 cases of influenza B, and one case of an individual infected with both influenza A and B, reported to the Health Unit. There were also 20 hospitalizations and eight deaths reported. Please note that due to the retrospective nature of reporting, the week in which hospitalizations and deaths are reported to the Health Unit may not be the same as the week in which they occurred.

Since September 1st, 2017, there have been 305 laboratory-confirmed influenza A cases, 384 cases of influenza B, and six cases infected with both influenza A and B, reported to the Health Unit. Among these cases there have been 348 hospitalizations and 37 deaths; all deaths to date have been among cases 50 years of age and over. Over this time period, there have also been 24 influenza A outbreaks, 27 influenza B outbreaks, and five outbreaks with both influenza A and B declared in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and retirement homes.

Appendix A provides more detail about laboratory-based influenza activity indicators, as well as other local indicators of respiratory illness. A graph showing all 695 laboratory-confirmed cases by week of illness onset is provided at the end of this report in Appendix B.

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