The flu has arrived on Vancouver Island, but it appears the region hasn’t been hit as badly as other parts of the province.
“We’re not experiencing the same outbreaks as they are [on the Lower Mainland] but we are in the midst of the flu season,” said Sarah Plank, spokeswoman for the Vancouver Island Health Authority.
The Fraser Health Authority, which serves 1.6 million people in Metro Vancouver, has declared the flu a public health hazard and is invoking special measures — such as requiring visitors to residential care facilities to wear a mask if they haven’t had a flu shot — to fight its spread.
There have been twice as many influenza outbreaks so far this winter as in the last three years combined, and more than three times the number of deaths among people in residential care facilities, FHA said.
The numbers of flu cases on the Island seems to have peaked last week, but it’s expected that flu-like symptoms will continue through February, Plank said.
“It certainly looks like we’re reporting a lot more influenza-like activity this year than we have for the last several years,” said Dee Hoyano, a VIHA medical health officer.
Symptoms of the flu include a fever with sudden onset, along with cough, headache, aches and pains, fatigue and weakness.
Complications include pneumonia and other lung illnesses.
With a file from The Canadian Press
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