Flu cases are increasing in Canada, marking a possible early start to the flu season, at the same time US health officials are reporting hospitalization rates for the respiratory illness are at their highest point this time of year.
“Nationally, influenza activity is increasing sharply,” according to Canada FluWatch Report For the week ending October 29.
Influenza activity has crossed the pandemic threshold, with 5 percent of all respiratory virus tests coming back positive. If it stays above that level and meets other criteria, the agency said it would declare a national flu pandemic — something that usually happens in mid-November.
separately on Friday, public health in OntarioThe weekly report stated that seasonal influenza activity has begun in that province. Parts of New Brunswick also experienced localized outbreaks of influenza, one step below the highest level of prevalence.
The flu has also been detected in areas in New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta, according to the federal report. Alberta The weekly respiratory virus report showed that a class of common cold viruses, rhino enterovirus, made up the lion’s share of positive lab tests recently.
Provinces and territories reported flu-related hospitalizations and eight ICU admissions for this week.
Visits by healthcare professionals for flu-like symptoms were above average but within typical levels for this time of year. Symptoms may be due to other respiratory viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.
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About 54 percent of influenza illnesses to date have been in children and adolescents.
Influenza cases increased in Canada and United State It comes as RSV and COVID-19 infections are adding pressure on hospitals in parts of both countries.
“There is no doubt that we will face some challenges this winter,” Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Preparedness and Response Don O’Connell told reporters.
She said the flu season in the United States appears to be earlier than usual but not more severe so far.