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Alberta flu cases spike, 5 deaths confirmed – Calgary – CBC News

Alberta flu cases spike, 5 deaths confirmed – Calgary – CBC News.

Calgarians line up at the Brentwood Mall for flu shots. Health experts say even if you had the vaccine during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, you should get immunized again.Calgarians line up at the Brentwood Mall for flu shots. Health experts say even if you had the vaccine during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, you should get immunized again. (CBC)
Albertans urged to get flu shots

Albertans urged to get flu shots 3:00

Alberta Health Services (AHS) says there are more than 965 confirmed flu cases in the province and there have been five deaths.

“Those are only people who have gone to seek medical attention and physicians have done specimens that have been sent to the lab and those have been confirmed positive,” said Dr. Judy McDonald. “We expect that there is much more influenza circulating in our communities that has not been lab confirmed.”

Officials say 920 of those cases are of the H1N1 strain, which is covered by this year’s flu vaccine. The overall number of flu cases has jumped by 50 per cent in one week.

bc-091102-flu-shots3Officials are urging people to get vaccinated before children head back to school. (CBC)

Dr. Glen Armstrong, an infectious disease expert, says the numbers aren’t a record but more than the province has seen in recent years.

“It may be that because we’ve had a bit of a holiday over the last couple of years. People have become complacent and are thinking, ‘OK, it’s no big deal, you know I don’t need to get vaccinated,'” he said.

Armstrong says even if you got the H1N1 vaccine during the 2009 pandemic, you should get immunized again.

“Because you don’t get lifelong immunity,… you get sort of a spike of immunity that will protect you for maybe a year or so. But after that immunity starts to wane and so this is a good opportunity to get revaccinated and to boost your immunity back up again to give you maximum protection,” he said.

Mass immunization clinics reopen

Health officials are urging people to get the vaccination, particularly before children head back to school.

Albertans who have not yet received a flu shot can still visit AHS mass immunization clinics, local pharmacies and family physician offices.

The vaccine is still available, free of charge, to all Albertans six months of age and older. But officials are reminding Albertans that children under the age of nine are not able to receive the vaccine at pharmacies.

Alberta Health Services clinics at Brentwood Mall in Calgary’s northwest and at the South Calgary Health Centre are both open today.

Mass immunization clinics in Edmonton will reopen Friday at the Bonnie Doon Health Centre and Northgate Health Centre from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MT.

For complete details on clinic locations and hours, call Health Link Alberta toll free at 1-866-408-5465 or visitalbertahealthservices.ca/influenza.

Chinese woman dies from bird flu strain new to humans – World – CBC News

Chinese woman dies from bird flu strain new to humans – World – CBC News.

The H5N1 bird flu virus has killed 384 people worldwide since 2003.The H5N1 bird flu virus has killed 384 people worldwide since 2003.

Chinese authorities said Wednesday that a 73-year-old Chinese woman died after being infected with a bird flu strain that had sickened a human for the first time, a development that the World Health Organization called “worrisome.”

China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the woman in the city of Nanchang had been infected by the H10N8 bird flu virus, a strain that had not previously been found in people, the Jiangxi province health department said on its website.

This is the second new bird flu strain to emerge in humans this year in China. In late March, the H7N9 bird flu virus broke out, infecting 140 people and killing 45, almost all of them on the mainland. The outbreak was controlled after the country closed many of its live animal markets — scientists had assumed the virus was infecting people through exposure to live birds.

Timothy O’Leary, spokesman for the World Health Organization’s regional office in Manila, said WHO officials were working closely with Chinese authorities to better understand the new virus. He said though its source remains unknown, birds are known to carry it and it would not be surprising if another human case was detected.

“It’s worrisome any time a disease jumps the species barrier from animals to humans. That said, the case is under investigation (by Chinese authorities) and there’s no evidence of human-to-human transmission yet,” O’Leary said by phone.

In the new case, the Jiangxi health department said the woman had severe pneumonia before dying Dec. 6 in a hospital in Nanchang.

She had suffered high blood pressure, heart disease and other underlying health problems that lowered her immunity, the health department said. Her medical history showed that she had been in contact with live poultry.

The health department said “no abnormalities” have been found in people who had close contact with her. It did not say if they had been tested or quarantined, though China has in previous outbreaks taken those measures.

Experts are cautious when it comes to bird flu viruses infecting humans. They have been closely watching the H5N1 bird flu virus, which has killed 384 people worldwide since 2003. The virus remains hard to catch with most human infections linked to contact with infected poultry, but scientists fear it could mutate and spread rapidly among people, potentially sparking a pandemic.

 

Bird flu virus’s pandemic potential assessed in lab animals – Health – CBC News

Bird flu virus’s pandemic potential assessed in lab animals – Health – CBC News.

New bird flu show signs of direct jump to humans – Health – CBC News

New bird flu show signs of direct jump to humans – Health – CBC News.

 

New bird flu spreads more easily to humans than H5N1 – World – CBC News

New bird flu spreads more easily to humans than H5N1 – World – CBC News.

 

WHO says new bird flu ‘more lethal’ to humans – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English

WHO says new bird flu ‘more lethal’ to humans – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English.

 

H7N9 Flu Virus: Canada National Lab To Work On Virus; Sample Likely Arrives Next Week

H7N9 Flu Virus: Canada National Lab To Work On Virus; Sample Likely Arrives Next Week.

 

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