Via the Edmonton Sun: Alberta Health Services reopening flu clinics Friday. Excerpt:
Calgary gave Edmonton the flu, says Alberta's senior medical officer of health.
Immunization clinics in Edmonton will reopen on Friday but as of Dec. 27, Alberta Health Services is reporting there have been 256 lab-confirmed cases of influenza in the city compared to 262 cases in Calgary.
AHS Medical Director of Population and Public Health Dr. Gerry Predy said Calgary has seen over 100 hospitalizations since the seasonal outbreak began whereas Edmonton has seen just 31.
"Calgary was hit earlier and harder than Edmonton although I can tell you Edmonton is catching up quite quickly," said Predy, adding the spread from southern Alberta is not uncommon.
"Usually when we see seasonal influenza, it starts in one part of the province and spreads to other parts. Particularly in the (holiday) season, with people driving back and forth, it's not going to take very long."
H1N1 is the dominant strain of influenza this season, emerging in a majority of cases and hospitalizations, said Predy.
In total, Alberta has seen 662 lab-confirmed influenza cases so far, 621 of which were H1N1. One person from Calgary and one from Edmonton recently died from H1N1.
The outbreak caused officials to postpone four elective heart surgeries at the University hospital, Predy said, as well as close a unit at the Stollery Children's Hospital where there were three cases of influenza.
The worst may not be over either, said Predy, as lab-confirmed cases "are just the tip of the iceberg."
"One thing we do know is the virus will likely continue to circulate for at least another two or three weeks. We'll have a better idea of what's going to happen once the kids go back to school."
Kids tend to spread influenza "rapidly" at school and then again at home to other members of their family, said Predy. AHS is expected to provide updated provincial influenza numbers on Monday.
Predy said AHS has seen a "very good uptake" in immunizations at clinics. Roughly 1,500 Edmontonians rolled up their sleeves to get a shot over the Christmas holidays, he said.
While there was a special shot for H1N1 offered during the 2009 pandemic, the H1N1 vaccine is now bundled in the seasonal flu shot which covers three different strains of influenza.