The BC Centre for Disease Control has published the latest in its Influenza Surveillance Reports. This one covers weeks 51-52 (December 15-28). Click through for the full PDF. The summary:
In weeks 51-52 (December 15 to 28, 2013), influenza activity increased in BC. Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 continues to be the predominant circulating strain,representing 51/61 (83.6%) of specimens with subtype information available during weeks 51-52.
The proportion of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza increased sharply from 17.3 in week 50 to 25.6% in week 51 and 42.5% in week 52.
The BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) claims for influenza illness as a proportion of all claims increased throughout the province and were above 10-year maximum values. The proportion of patient with influenza-like illness among those presenting to sentinel physicians and the consultation rates attributed to ILI at BC Children’s Hospital ER also increased significantly during this period after remaining stable for the past few weeks.
Consistency across surveillance indicators suggests a real increase in influenza activity in BC, but may also reflect differences in health care seeking behaviour during the holiday period. Ongoing monitoring is required in the coming weeks.