Via the Regina Leader-Post: Influenza outbreak claims 16. Excerpt:
More people have died this year after becoming infected with influenza than during the pandemic of 2009.
According to the province, there are 1,102 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza, 16 people have died and 57 people have been hospitalized this flu season. In comparison, during the H1N1 pandemic of 2009, there were 15 deaths.
"What we are seeing is an incredible toll this year and that is most likely related to the H1N1 virus strain that is circulating this season," Dr. Denise Werker, the province's deputy chief medical officer, said on Friday.
She said, this year, in 75 per cent of the cases the victims had underlying health conditions and 25 per cent did not.
In response to this year's flu season, the province purchased 107,000 doses of flu mist vaccine, which arrived this week.
Werker said that in 2009, 50 per cent of the population was vaccinated and this flu season the province has yet to reach that number.
"Now is the time to get vaccinated," she said. "If you have missed your shot, now is the time to get flu mist. There is additional injectable vaccine available at the clinics for those who are not eligible to receive the flu mist."
Werker said of the 16 deaths, none of the victims were vaccinated and about 88 per cent of those who have been hospitalized were also not vaccinated.
Although the province has likely reached its peak, the level of influenza activity is not even across the province. "
We know that in the north influenza activity has just begun to take off," she said.
"We know people in rural or remote areas are at a higher risk for influenza."
Werker acknowledges that Saskatchewan will experience more flu-related deaths before the season is over.