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Flu virus stronger and earlier than expected, physicians warn
Chandra Lye, CTV Edmonton
Published Saturday, December 8, 2012 5:40PM MST
Last Updated Saturday, December 8, 2012 6:33PM MST
Medical professional are warning that the number of influenza cases are higher than previous years.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) confirms there are over 200 cases in the province so far. At this time last year there were just 17 cases.
“People have to understand that we are in the middle of flu season,” University of Alberta public health professor Dr. Louis Francescutti told CTV News.
“It does appear to be a little earlier and stronger than we predicted.”
One hundred cases were reported in Edmonton, 37 in Red Deer, 61 in Calgary and seven in Northern Alberta.
The U.S. Centre for Disease Control has also reported higher numbers.
“It does look like the season is starting in Central Canada and the U.S. and that always means flu always starts off slowly and picks up speed. So unfortunately it likely means we're going to be at peak influenza activity over the holidays,” Dr. Allison McGuire said.
Some Edmontonians say they have seen an increase in those suffering.
“At work everybody’s sick. All the time,” Jane Gotthelf told CTV News.
She says she hasn’t had the flu since she has been getting her vaccinations.
“I've gotten it for the last three years and so far I haven't got the flu in the last three years.”
That is something that Dr. Francescutti advises.
AHS says nearly 420,000 have been immunized this year.
“It’s not only important for yourself but it’s important for spreading this disease to those that are at great risk.”
He also says you can’t overdo it with handwashing.
“Assume every surface has got the virus on it,” he said. “You can’t over wash.”
With files from Amanda Anderson