Via Canada.com, a report by Helen Branswell of The Canadian Press: Flu activity taking off across Canada; year shaping up as normal H1N1 year. Excerpt:
Q: All the headlines these days are about influenza. Is this a dire flu season?
Not really. It's a flu season — which means as activity takes off in your municipality or province, you can expect to see a spike of illnesses that can create the impression that almost everyone is sick.
If you look at a graph of influenza activity over the year, you see that people can contract influenza at any point. But most cases occur in a peak — or two peaks in some seasons.
Last year's season, caused mostly by the H3N2 virus, was quite nasty. This year the H1N1 virus is predominating — at this point, anyway. And while parts of the country are now in the throes of full-on flu outbreaks, the activity level is what one sees during flu season.
"It's looking like a kind of a solid H1N1 season," says Dr. Allison McGeer, head of infection control at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital, and one of Canada's leading flu experts.
McGeer suggests Alberta's outbreak may have already peaked while Ontario's is probably at its apex now.
"It'll be over in a month. There's been a fair amount of activity, but it's not terrible. And that should be it."
A little-noticed side effect of influenza is its ability to induce social amnesia in its victims—and everyone else.