Influenza activity climbing in London and Middlesex
A nurse working for Vancouver Island Vaccine loads a syringe with flu vaccine for injection at the Victoria Clipper Terminal in Victoria. (Chuck Stoody / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Middlesex-London Health Unit says influenza activity in the region has increased substantially over the last two weeks as we enter the height of the flu season.
From December 23, 2013 to January 5, 2014, there were 51 cases of lab-confirmed influenza A and one lab-confirmed case of influenza B reported to the heallth unit. Of those cases, 32 were hospitalized.
Prior to this period, there had been only 25 lab-confirmed cases of influenza A and eight hospitalizations since September 1, 2013.
Of the 18 samples tested, all were found to be the H1N1 subtype of influenza A, the same strain that circulated during the 2009 pandemic.
However, the health unit says that there have been no deaths reported among lab-confirmed cases in the region.
Outbreaks at three separate long-term care homes since December 30, 2013 have contributed to the rise in flu cases.
While the strain is part of the 2013-2014 flu vaccine, among the reported cases where the immunization status was known, nearly 80 per cent were not immunized.
Across the province and nationally flu activity has also continued to rise and the health unit continues to strongly recommend people get a flu shot if they haven't already.