Friday, December 09, 2022

Public Health Sudbury confirms first case of Influenza A in more than two years

Health unit advises residents to follow public health precautions and book appointments for flu vaccine

Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) reported Monday that it has confirmed cases of Influenza A in its local jurisdiction.

“This local activity has been associated with a sharp increase in influenza cases across Canada over the past few weeks,” a news release from PHSD said. Area residents are reminded to protect themselves and others from respiratory infections by implementing simple and effective protective practices.

It’s a significant change from the situation in mid-March when the PHSD said it had been more than two years since there were any significant flu outbreaks.

In a report in March, the health unit said that until that time and during the pandemic, there had been no confirmed cases of flu.

“The last reported cases of influenza in Public Health Sudbury and Districts were between October 2019 and March 2020. During that time, 85 confirmed cases were reported,” the PHSD said.

The health unit said one of the major reasons for this was that people took concrete precautions against COVID-19, which is also a respiratory disease.

“Through the COVID-19 pandemic, we have learned simple ways to protect ourselves from respiratory illness. These behaviors, like staying home when sick, washing hands, wearing a mask and getting vaccinated, protect us from influenza as well as COVID-19,” said Justin Mansoorian, a PHSD public health nurse.

Flu incidence is monitored locally as well as nationally by Health Canada.

For residents who may be concerned about the flu bug, vaccines are available in the Sudbury Health Unit area.

“Influenza vaccine is still available in locations throughout the community, including local pharmacies and health care providers’ offices. Public Health Sudbury & Districts also provides flu vaccines by appointment at many of our locations,” Mansoorian said.

“This year is unusual in that we are seeing a very late start to the influenza season, which in Canada typically runs from November to April. Our first cases are usually reported in December or January and the season in March or April With influenza activity increasing in April and approaching seasonal levels in some parts of the country, late-season influenza is trending across Canada,” Mansoorian said.

PHSD said it is reminding residents that influenza vaccine is provided free of charge to anyone who is six months or older in Ontario and is the best way to protect themselves and their loved ones from influenza. Mansoorian said the vaccine is specifically recommended for people with medical conditions who are at risk of developing complications from influenza infection.

The health unit said influenza is a highly contagious respiratory virus that can cause fever, cough, muscle aches and fatigue. Most people recover from influenza infection within a week to 10 days, but some are at higher risk of developing more serious complications, such as pneumonia. Influenza can also cause mild stomach upset in children. The most common symptoms usually include fever, runny nose and cough.

The PHSD said COVID-19 continues to spread widely in the community, and with some of the common symptoms of other respiratory illnesses, including influenza, it can be difficult to know which virus you have.

Regardless of the cause of the infection, the same protective measures still apply to help prevent getting sick or spreading from influenza and other viruses. The health unit advises residents of the area to stay home if they have symptoms, wear a mask if you are around others, wash hands frequently and avoid contact with vulnerable individuals.

For more information about influenza virus or influenza vaccination opportunities, please visit our website at or call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).

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