Seasonal flu strikes again

While the peak of influenza has been reached in many regions of Quebec during the holiday season, we are preparing to face the Bas-Saint-Laurent, while the number of influenza cases listed heralds a season particularly active.

“If we look at our entire population, influenza activity is very high and comparable to that of last year,” said the Director of Public Health at CISSS Bas-Saint-Laurent, Sylvain Leduc.

Last year, we had a record year in Bas-Saint-Laurent, as the two influenza strains, types A and B, hit at the same time. During the winter of 2017-2018, 307 positive cases of influenza A and B virus were detected.

In Bas-Saint-Laurent, from November 1, 2018 to January 10, 2019, 232 influenza A cases were recorded, while last year, at the same time, 209 people received a positive test result.

Obviously, these figures included only the cases that are tracked. There are still some cases where people do not go to hospitals or clinics for testing.

The youngest affected

The strain of this year, A H1N1, affects all populations, but in 2019 the younger population is more affected.

“There is a higher proportion than last year in the 20-44 age group. In the case of younger clienteles they are more active populations with many contacts between them, so it facilitates the spread, “added Dr. Leduc, adding that this population is also less vaccinated.

Less vaccinated

A few fewer people aged 60 to 75 have used the vaccine this year in Bas-Saint-Laurent.

“The doses administered so far are a little smaller, so I hope it does not translate into more cases in the population,” Dr. Leduc said.

It is necessary to wait until the end of the year to know if the vaccine was effective, however one knows that the strain which circulates currently was present in the vaccine. “This vaccine is expected to be pretty good this year,” said Leduc.

On December 11, the occupancy rates of the various Bas-Saint-Laurent hospitals were all below 100%. The Amqui Hospital Center had the highest occupancy rate at 83%.