CALGARY- Alberta has been hit with a particularly virulent strain of the flu this season.
Sevryn Frey is among the many Albertans who have come down with the illness. He says he’s feeling better, but it has been a tough month.
“The first sign of my fever was when I was at school and I was really, really cold and I put my jacket on and literally nothing was happening,” he said.
The province has reported nearly double the number of cases this year, over last. A spokesperson for Alberta Health Services told Global News that part of the problem is a flu shot that is not providing the necessary protection.
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Although over a million Albertans have already been immunized, the virus continues to spread.
“We’ve had 1,500 confirmed laboratory cases and that just represents the tip of the iceberg about how much we think it is actually circulating the province,” said Dr. Marcia Johnson, the Medical Officer of Health for Alberta Health Services.
At the same time last year there were 662 cases of lab confirmed flu in Alberta.
Most of the cases are in the Edmonton area, although hundreds of Calgarians have fallen ill as well.
Natasha Goffard says her younger brother, aunt and mother are all sick with the common cold or the flu.
“Trying to get vaccinated before I get it. [Better] safe then sorry,” she told Global News.
According to the US Centre for Disease Control this year’s vaccine only provides about 50% protection against H3N2. Still, AHS says it’s better to get the shot than to go without.
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“It will still offer protection, but not to the degree we wanted, so we’re still encouraging people to take advantage of immunization,” said Johnson.
“It does protect against H3 and we are expecting at least one other strain to enter our communities this winter.”
Another concern is that the flu isn’t the only bug causing illness this winter and AHS says all Calgary emergency rooms are feeling the pressure—especially the Alberta Children’s Hospital.